LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 15, 2014) – A new law that went into effect in July allows nurse practitioners in Kentucky to have an expanded role in treating patients.
Nurse practitioners who meet certain requirements can now prescribe some medications without having a collaborative agreement with a physician, which previously was required. Supporters of the law say it will remove the barrier nurse practitioners face when they wanted to open their own practices. With their own practices, they can prescribe blood pressure and cholesterol medicines, antibiotics and some antidepressants, for example.
“Expanding the scope of practice for nurse practitioners in Kentucky is absolutely critical to close the gap in tremendous health care needs of Kentuckians," said Janie Heath, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing. "For decades NPs have demonstrated their ability to increase access to care, increase quality of care and at the same time decrease costs. Having this level of regulatory authority speaks volumes about our legislators’ commitment to improve health and wellness in Kentucky.”
A state-commissioned study last year said Kentucky is approximately 4,000 physicians short in meeting the current demand for health care providers. With the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act, more than 420,000 Kentuckians have health insurance, many of whom have coverage for the first time in their lives.
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