- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

____

August 20

Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, on laws to help patients:

It’s been a long battle for Kentucky’s nurse practitioners just to be able to provide more basic health services but it has resulted in a win for health care.

Last month, a new law took effect that expands the power of the state’s more than 3,000 nurse practitioners - known as advance practice registered nurses - to prescribe routine medications without a signed agreement from a Kentucky physician.

That brings Kentucky in line with 18 other states and the District of Columbia by lifting restrictions that had limited the ability of nurse practitioners to prescribe medications such as antibiotics and blood pressure pills, Laura Ungar reported Sunday for The Courier-Journal and USA Today.

“It’s great. It’s been a long time coming,” said Louisville nurse practitioner Bob Hobbs, shown above seeing a patient. “With a physician agreement there’s always a risk. What if they move or have a car wreck tomorrow? What do you do?”

What, indeed? Kentucky’s nurse practitioners have been asking those questions for years as they worked to get a state law changed that required such signed agreements to prescribe many routine medications.

While state law already allowed nurse practitioners to practice independently - and many, such as Mr. Hobbs do - they still needed that piece of paper signed by a physician for routine prescriptions.

Physicians, through the Kentucky Medical Association, had long fought any changes through their powerful lobby in Frankfort, arguing such a change threatened medical “teamwork” and physician oversight although many nurse practitioners work out of their own offices.

It also threatened an income stream for physicians.

Finally, this year, through the tireless efforts of supporters, Sen. Paul Hornback, a Shelbyville Republican who was the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 7 and the important cooperation of the medical association, the law changed.

And now, the state’s nurse practitioners are better equipped to join primary care physicians to meet the demand.

Online:

Story Continues →