Nurse practitioners fight to write prescriptions
by JONATHAN M. METSCH, DR.P.H., LLC
Mar 20, 2015 | 6832 views | 0 0 comments | 1065 1065 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Recently USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/ * reported: “Nurse practitioner Bob Hobbs once came within days of closing his doors to patients because a doctor who gave him permission to write scripts was leaving the state, and he couldn't find another one quickly enough.

But a just-enacted Kentucky law ensures that won't happen again.

The measure gives nurse practitioners the right to prescribe common drugs, such as blood pressure and diabetes medicines, without having an agreement with a doctor. Laws granting more independence to nurse practitioners also passed this year in Connecticut, New York and Minnesota, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is considering a similar proposal.”

“Nurse practitioners have been pushing for more independence for decades and started making real headway in the run-up to the Affordable Care Act, which is increasing the ranks of insured patients and threatening to worsen doctor shortages.

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 19 states and the District of Columbia now allow them to treat patients and prescribe drugs independently. Another 19 allow nurses to practice semi-independently, requiring a physician agreement for some piece of patient care, such as prescribing potent painkillers. Proposals to give nurses more autonomy have also been floated in some of the 12 states the association still considers restrictive.”

“But such efforts face powerful opposition, with many doctors arguing patients get the best care when doctors stay involved. The American Medical Association contends that allowing nurse practitioners to practice independently hasn't so far solved access problems, improved health or lowered costs.

"The (AMA) encourages physician-led health care teams that ensure health care professionals work together as the ideal way to provide high quality and efficient care," officials said in a statement to USA Today. "Patients win when each member of their health care team plays the role they are educated and trained to play."

* to read the full USA Today story “Nurse practitioners fight to write prescriptions” by Laura Unger, highlight and click on open hyperlink http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/18/nurse-practitioner-independence-laws/13470733/

Doctor, Did You Wash Your Hands? ™ provides information to consumers on understanding, managing and navigating health care options.

Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H., is Clinical Professor, Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and Adjunct Professor, Baruch College ( C.U.N.Y.), Rutgers School of Public Health, and Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration

This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.

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