Senate advances bill expanding nurse practitioner prescription authority

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 7:11 PM CDT
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ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - Oklahoma state senators recently advanced a bill that would allow nurse practitioners to prescribe some medications without a doctor’s oversight.

Right now Advance Practice Registered Nurses can prescribe medicine, but only with a doctor’s oversight.

Senator Brenda Stanley is working to change that with Senate Bill 458, which she said wouldn’t change the day-to-day responsibilities of nurse practitioners, but would allow more patients to access healthcare and help APRNs save money.

Newly certified nurse practitioner Angel Campbell said most of her colleagues think it’s a good idea.

“Other states require their nurse practitioners to actually pay a salary to supervise them,” Campbell said. “So the general consensus is that it’s going to be a good thing, not only for the patients but also for all of us who are in the medical community.”

Stanley said she’s been speaking with nurses around Oklahoma, some of whom pay their supervising physician.

“I’ve heard numbers like $500 to $2,500 a month,” Stanley said. “One nurse told me she paid her physician $30,000 one year. And sometimes they never even have a conversation with these physicians. I’m sure there are physicians that really do it right, that go in and check charts and check their prescriptions, but by and large, we’re finding that’s not the case. This is to relieve them of that financial burden.”

APRNs would need 6,240 hours of supervised practice before they could apply to prescribe on their own.

The bill passed the state senate 40-5.

News 12 reached out to the senators who voted no, but didn’t hear back before airtime.

Stanley said some lawmakers are concerned about opioids, but this bill only gives nurse practitioners the authority to prescribe drugs classified as schedules 3, 4, AND 5.

“I can’t emphasize that enough,” Stanley said. “Because people are so hesitant thinking nurses are going to be prescribing opioids, and we have such an opioid problem in our country, but they would not prescribe anything differently than they prescribe anyway.”

Stanley said the bill would improve healthcare for Oklahomans.

“I think it would be a huge boost to our rural populations where we’re so lacking healthcare people,” Stanley said.”But also our metro areas because we need doctors and nurses everywhere in the state of Oklahoma.”

“In rural communities so you’re typically going to have people with a lower socio-economic status,” Campbell. “So you’re looking at people who are struggling to find transportation to appointments, they cannot afford preventative care, which leads to diseases progressing and then you’re already stuck where you need treatment.”