Choose one legislator on the state or federal level who is also a nurse, and discuss the importance of
their role as advocate for improving health care delivery. What specific bill(s) have they sponsored or
supported that has/have influenced health care?
Senator Bernice Matthews’ contribution to health care and nursing
Senator Bernice Matthews has been advocate for nursing and health care during most of
her political campaigns and engagements. She has been a member of the American Nurses’
Association and the president of the State Board of Nursing. Her sincere passion for health care
and nursing also made her to join the Washoe County Mental Health Advisory Board (Project
Vote Smart, nd).
Bernice Mathews voted for the HPV Vaccine and Prostate Cancer Screening Coverage
Act in 2007. The Act required that the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug
Administration, or vaccine manufacturers to make available the coverage of the HPV vaccine for
female citizens of certain ages. The Act also provided for the State Plan for Medicaid to make a
coverage of the HPV vaccine with non-federal funds. Senator Bernice Matthews also gave a key
vote for the Prostate Cancer Screening Coverage, which provided for the coverage for prostate
cancer screenings by health insurance plans covering prostate cancer treatments.
Senator Bernice Matthews also voted for the Methamphetamine Bill in 2007, although
the Bill failed to pass. The Bill required that the sale, supply, or giving away of chemicals with
the intention of using it in the manufacture of controlled substances other than marijuana to be
criminalized. The Bill also provided for a limitation on the sale of products that are antecedents
to Methamphetamine such as sodium and lithium metals, to pharmacists and other health care
practitioners (Project Vote Smart, nd).
Senator Bernice Matthews also advocated for the good health of teeth by voting for the
Washoe County Fluoridation legislation in 2009. The legislation required that all water should be
HEALTH CARE 2
fluoridated for human consumption in counties with 100,000 or more people. Matthews was
convinced that good teeth are part of general good health and all elements harmful to human
teeth should be eliminated (DeLOng, 2009).
HEALTH CARE 3
DeLong, J. (2009). Fluoride in Washoe Water up for Debate Again. Reno State Journal.