The State Senate gave final legislative approval today to a bill permitting New York's more than 13,000 nurse practitioners to sign death certificates in the same manner as physicians and other authorized parties. The bill (S.325) is sponsored by Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn), who is a member of the Senate Health Committee.
Senator Montgomery noted that, under current law, nurse practitioners can pronounce death, ascertain the cause of death and provide the medical information required by the death certificate. "Since nurse practitioners are frequently the medical professionals in last attendance when a patient passes away, it is only logical and appropriate that they be given the authority to certify the death. My bill will go a long way towards making an often arduous and emotionally charged process much smoother for the decedent's family and loved ones."
Nurse practitioners are highly-skilled health care professionals who diagnose illness and physical conditions and perform therapeutic and corrective measures. In every-day actual practice, nurse practitioners conduct physical examinations of patients, order tests, prescribe medicine, devices and immunizing agents and, when appropriate, refer patients to other health care providers.
Nurse practitioners are permitted to sign death certificates in 17 other states.
Senator Montgomery's legislation must be approved by the Governor before becoming law.