Leaders at Heartbeat International are hopeful they are nearing the end of a now-year long audit from the California Board of Registered Nursing, after responding in early November to follow-up questions stemming from a comprehensive review in early 2016.
First approved to offer continuing education units through California’s nursing education board in 2012, Heartbeat International had submitted several hundred pages of documentation and supporting research requested by the board in February. The board has been carefully reviewing that information and requested points of clarification in mid-October.
In September, Heartbeat received notification that its status as a provider had been renewed, allowing the organization to continue offering contact hours for 34 current courses available through the Heartbeat Academy.
Heartbeat International, which has offered nursing contact hours at its Annual Conference dating back to 2013, is slated to offer credit at 17 workshops and four all-day trainings at its 2017 Annual Conference April 19-21 in Chicago.
“The majority of nurses who receive credit through Heartbeat International are providing their specific nursing talents on behalf of local community-based non-profits,” Danielle White, J.D., legal counsel for Heartbeat International, wrote Nov. 2 in a letter to the nursing board. “These courses are designed to prepare nurses to educate and support patients in their decision-making. Equipped with evidence-based, up-to-date information, the nurse is better able to educate and consult with patients and assist them in making informed decisions.
“We aim to equip nurses with current research and innovative and cutting-edge treatments that may be options for the patient.”
Since first becoming an approved provider through Ohio’s board in 2010, Heartbeat International has focused its medical education on ultrasonography and STD/STI services at a pregnancy help medical clinic.
The network of more than 2,000 affiliates worldwide has also trained staff and volunteers at the local level on how they can be involved in the process of reversing the effects of RU-486—which has saved around 200 lives, with close to 100 more babies on the way, according to Culture of Life Family Services, which operates AbortionPillReversal.com.
It was training on Abortion Pill Reversal, in fact, that caught the attention of abortion advocates at Rewire.com back in January, prompting state senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) to call for the audit of Heartbeat International and other pro-life nursing CEU providers.
A Jan. 19 piece was published at Rewire.com and subtitled, “Heartbeat International and other anti-choice groups treat abortion pill reversal as if it’s a medical fact, but the science behind it is scanty, at best.”
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Mothers like Rebekah Buell, as well as another client at a Fontana, Calif., pregnancy center have, in contrast to Rewire.com’s accusation, changed their mind after having ingested the first of two rounds of the RU-486 abortion regimen, and were able to welcome healthy babies as a result.
A main pioneer behind the Abortion Pill Reversal process—and its growing network of over 300 physicians worldwide—Dr. George Delgado, M.D., F.A.A.F.P., also serves on Heartbeat International’s medical advisory council, which is made up of 15 medical professionals, including 10 physicians.
California’s Department of Consumer Affairs website lists Heartbeat as holding a current Continuing Education Provider license, with no disciplinary actions or public record actions of complaint filed against the organization.
“We are confident that the Board of Nursing is motivated not by politics but by a desire to ensure that nurses receive quality continuing education that will equip them to serve the public," White said. "We trust that the board will review the material we have provided with the appropriate professionalism and credibility. The material Heartbeat has provided will demonstrate that our courses are relevant to the practice of nursing and related to the scientific knowledge, technical skills, and direct or indirect patient/client care that nurses provide to their patients.”