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APRN Bill Moves On to the Governor

[MMA News Now, May 8, 2014] A bill (SF 511) that expands the scope of practice for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) is on its way to the governor after the Senate passed it unanimously May 1 and the House approved it, 119-13, on May 8. 

For more than a year, nurse and physician advocates have passionately debated this issue. The two sides agreed on compromise language on April 30 that maintains the requirement for certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) to practice with a collaboration plan with a physician for treating acute and chronic pain. CRNAs treating chronic pain will also need  to have a written prescribing agreement with a physician who works at the same licensed facility.

While the legislation allows nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists to practice independently, it is not without some restrictions. These APRNs will need 2,080 hours of on-the-job training before they can practice independently. In addition, APRNs will not be able to identify themselves as doctors when treating patients and bars them from interpreting advanced imaging such as MRI, PET or CT scans.

The bill creates an advisory committee to look at prescribing patterns, emerging practice trends and overlapping scope of practice issues. A provision in a separate bill also directs the department of health to gather data on the types of chronic pain treatments are being provided by which type of practitioner.

“The final legislation is not what the MMA would draft, but we stopped contesting it after we reached the compromise,” said Dave Renner, MMA’s director of state and federal legislation.  

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