A measure by Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee), which will expand the job opportunities for Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), was signed into law last night.
Jones’s Senate Bill 994 specifically allows Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) to hire LVNs and allow both providers to work within their existing scope of practice. This would increase LVNs exposure to the primary care setting and allow them to work more closely with doctors and patients than they might in other settings, including participation in care plan development.
Under current law, NDs can hire Naturopathic Assistants (analogous to Medical Assistants) who can only perform limited tasks in the office and only with the ND present. As a result, there are many tasks that the ND must perform themselves, lowering their efficiency and increasing wait times for patients. It also means that there are limited support staff with medical training in the office for patient support.
“This is a win-win-win for Licensed Vocational Nurses, Naturopathic Doctors, and most of all, the patients,” stated Senator Brian W. Jones. “The current law that does not allow for an ND to hire an LVN is outdated, and frankly a disservice to medical professionals and medical consumers. This change lifts these unnecessary restrictions to the benefit of all.”
SB 994 is sponsored by the Naturopathic Doctors Association and was approved by the Senate and Assembly on unanimous votes. Upon Governor Newson’s signature last night, it goes into effect on January 1, 2023.