WSR 98-24-106



[Filed December 2, 1998, 8:57 a.m.]

Continuance of WSR 98-21-088.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 97-15-002.

Title of Rule: Sexual misconduct prohibited, WAC 246-840-740.

Purpose: This would create a new WAC to assist the nurses and the public in understanding the concept and actions which can be taken in disciplinary cases coming before the commission and to ensure that the commission's disciplinary actions are enforceable and therefore more fully protect the public.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 18.130.180(24).

Statute Being Implemented: Chapter 18.79 RCW.

Summary: This rule would make it easier for nurses and the public to understand that there are professional boundaries and standards of practice which need to be adhered to.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Protection of the public is the commission's primary goal when the profession of nursing is practiced. This WAC would allow the commission to successfully prosecute sexual misconduct cases reported to the commission. It would also educate the care givers and the public that sexual misconduct is not an acceptable standard of practice.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Terry J. West, 1300 S.E. Quince Street, Olympia, WA 98504, (360) 236-4712.

Name of Proponent: Washington State Department of Health, Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Since 1993 the commission has had sexual misconduct guidelines in place. This served as a method of articulating the Nursing Commission's standards for the nursing profession when complaints involving sexual relations with patients and/or former patients were received. While the guidelines were helpful, moving them into rule would provide enforceability of commission actions. The rule would be available to all applicants, licensees, facilities and the public via the law book and would set the standard for nursing which would be beneficial to everyone.

Having this rule in place would protect the public because it provides notice to all. It will put facilities, nurses and schools on notice, it will make the patients aware of their rights. Commission action would be enforceable. The action could remove a licensee from the practice of nursing, order therapy, remedial education, or limit the setting a nurse could practice in, or other action deemed appropriate to provide protection to the public.

Proposal does not change existing rules.

A small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW.

Small Business Economic Impact Statement

See WSR 98-21-088.

A copy of the statement may be obtained by writing to Department of Health, Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission, ATTN: Terry J. West, 47864, Olympia, WA 98504-7867 [98504-7864], phone (360) 236-4712, fax (360) 586-2165 or (360) 236-4738.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, applies to this rule adoption. These rules are significant under section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, because they adopt substantive provisions which subject the violator to penalty or sanction and establish, alter or revoke qualification or standard for the issuance, suspension or revocation of a license or permit.

Hearing Location: Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Avenue, Meeting Rooms 1 and 2, Lacey, WA 98503, on January 13, 1999, at 9:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Terry J. West by January 8, 1999, TDD (360) 664-0064, or fax (360) 586-2165 or 236-4738.

Submit Written Comments to: Terry J. West, Department of Health, P.O. Box 47864, Olympia, WA 98504-7864, fax (360) 586-2165, or 236-4738, by January 8, 1999.

Date of Intended Adoption: January 13, 1999.

November 25, 1998

Paula R. Meyer

Executive Director