Nurse Practitioners Could Get Greater Prescription Privelges

By: Ashley Davidson
By: Ashley Davidson

Shala Wilson is president of the Kentucky Coalition for Nurse Practitioners. She says: "We're asking for the senate to bring house bill 122 to the floor for a vote."

That bill, dealing with certification of surgical assistants, has never been heard by the Senate because it went to an appropriations committee after being passed by the house in an 82-to-10 vote. Now a proposal has been tacked onto the bill with language detailing the prescription privileges of nurse practitioners.

Wilson says: "The reason that's important is we have a lot of nurse practitioners in rural areas or treating hospice patients. And their primary care physicians may be out of town."

The new bill would limit nurse practitioners to writing a 72 hour supply for some controlled drugs. The 72 hours allows nurse practitioners to help severe cases until the patient can be seen by their physician at another time.

Wilson says: "Kentucky is one of only six states that do not allow nurse practitioners to prescribe some level of controlled substance under certain circumstances."

Wilson says it is also more economic to increase nurse practitioners prescription privileges.

Wilson says: "What happens because all the surrounding states except for Missouri have less restrictive scope of practice we're seeing good nurse practitioners educated in Kentucky but going to Tennessee, Indiana, and Ohio to practice because they don't have the restrictions."

Opponents of the bill say giving nurse practitioners such prescription authority could lower medical standards.

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