Bill to ease prescription rules for advanced-practice nurse practitioners is first to pass in this legislative session

The first bill to pass the 2014 General Assembly and go to the governor is Senate Bill 7, which would allow more experienced advanced-practice registered nurses to prescribe non-narcotic drugs without having an agreement with a physician. Advocates of the bill say it is needed more than ever now that federal health reform and expansion of Medicaid are bringing more people into the regular health-care system.

“SB 7 is good for Kentucky’s health!” said Sheila Schuster, a Louisville psychologist who lobbied for the bill. “It will increase access – particularly in under-served areas (map) – to the safe, quality healthcare provided by advanced-practice registered nurses.”

The bill’s passage ended a five-year battle between doctors and APRNs, represented by the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives. The House passed a bill last year to repeal the doctor-agreement law entirely, but it stalled in the Senate. Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, negotiated a deal with the APRNs and the doctors’ lobby, the Kentucky Medical Association. The bill would allow APRNs who have practiced for four years to prescribe such medicine without any relationship with a doctor.

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