Financing the destruction of AIDS and protecting its victims from discrimination will be the main focus of the Legislative Health Interim Committee.
Other health crises, including the state's nursing shortage, won't be ignored when the committee meets monthly for the next eight months. But if they have anything to say about it, committee members won't be battling the problems alone.The committee members, agreeing this week that the nursing shortage is caused by insufficient funds for nursing education, voted to send a letter to the Higher Education Interim Committee, urging its members to make nursing education a high priority.
Copies of the letter will go to the State Board of Regents and institutions providing nursing training. Weber State College announced this week that its licensed practical nursing program will be re-instigated. The one-year program was scrapped more than a year ago during budget cuts.
Health committee members hope their letter, echoing last year's recommendation, won't fall on deaf ears among other administrators and legislators.
"But I have served on the Higher Education Interim Committee, and it's like pouring water on ducks' backs," said Sen. Ivan M. Matheson, R-Cedar City, who believes the total health-care system needs to be reformed.
Other committee members agree, and listed as another priority item a health-care study that will include an evaluation of health-care costs and the certificate of need program. Many health-care officials have commented that the program needs to be reinstigated to especially control the development of new nursing homes.
Other items on which the committee will concentrate are: air pollution, alternative medical treatments, hazardous and radioactive waste, the Medicaid program, solid waste and waste water management, and insurance for the uninsurable.
However, the committee rejected recommendations from the audience to examine inequities among insurance companies that refuse to pay for infertility treatments. They also opted not to take a closer look at surrogate motherhood or the controversial issue of whether animals should be used for medical research.