State Senate passes long-sought bill to ease prescribing of non-narcotic drugs by advanced practice registered nurses

After years of lobby fights between doctors and advanced practice registered nurses, the state Senate has passed 36-1 a compromise version of legislation that would allow some APRNs 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.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, said it “will be the best thing for access to health care, for availability, for cost, for making sure we take care of our citizens here in Kentucky.”

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. It is now in the House.

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