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Kentucky NPs now prescribe without physician oversight

Wednesday July 30, 2014
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Nurse practitioners in Kentucky are now able to prescribe some medications without having a collaborative agreement with a physician, making it easier for them to open their own practices, advanced practice nurse leaders said.

The new state law, which took effect July 15, states after four years of prescribing under a collaborative agreement with a physician, NPs no longer need the agreement to prescribe routine medications.

Controlled substances, including oxycodone, testosterone and cough syrup with codeine, still require a collaborative agreement. About 2,000 of the state’s 5,410 NPs have an agreement to prescribe these more restrictive drugs, according to the Kentucky Board of Nursing.

Press reports quoted the law’s supporters as saying it will remove a barrier from NPs seeking to open their own practice. “Lots of practices out there ... always lived in fear or concern that something is going to happen to their collaborating physician and they will have to close their doors,” Julianne Ewen, APRN, DNP, president of the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives, told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “This takes that fear away.”

The law was passed partly in response to a 2013 study that found the state had a shortage of nearly 4,000 physicians, including a shortage of 183 primary care physicians. The shortage of primary care physicians was expected to increase to 205 by 2017, mostly in the more rural western part of the state, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

“We’re hoping some of these (nurse practitioners) will locate in those places and we can provide everybody with adequate care,” state Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, the law’s primary sponsor, told the press. “It will make healthcare more available and at a more reasonable cost to a lot of people.”


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