Mar 5, 2010

‘Katie’s’ Bill passes the Senate

LANSING -- Senate Bill 1172 that will allow the Department of Community Health (DCH) to issue an honorary nursing license, in consultation with the nursing board, to an individual who has met all of the requirements of being licensed but who is unable to take the examination due to advanced illness was approved unanimously by the Senate on Wednesday.

The bill is named for 23-year-old Katie Viger of Trenton who passed away a few weeks ago on Feb. 18. Katie Viger graduated from the competitive nursing program at Henry Ford Community College in May of last year, but in August she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, just days before she was to take her exam to receive her nursing license. Her lifelong dream was to have her license.

Urged on by her instructor Cathy Wakefield, Sen. Ray Basham, D-Taylor, introduced the bill, and it received widespread, grasroots support thanks to the actions of Katie’s friends, family and supporters. The bill was fast-tracked, and 33 of the 38 Senators co-sponsored the bill. Wakefield was on hand to see the bill pass the Senate on Wednesday.

“But we would not be voting on this legislation today and Katie would never had received her honorary license if it weren’t for the involvement of several key individuals,” Basham said. “I would, therefore, like to publicly thank Cathy Wakefield, Director Janet Olszewski, the Department of Community Health staff, Senator Mike Bishop, Senator Bruce Patterson and Senator Tom George.”

The bill was referred to the House Health Policy Committee, but it’s expected it will make its way quickly to the full House floor.

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