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Kentucky patients might see more nurse practitioners

Going to the doctor when you are sick is usually associated with actually seeing a doctor. That trend, however, might be changing with a bill signed by Kentucky Gov. Beshear on Feb. 13, 2014. Senate Bill 7 gives qualified nurse practitioners the right to prescribe certain medications without having to have a collaborative agreement with a physician. The president of the Kentucky Medical Association says that access to health care will likely increase as a result of this bill.

In the past, nurse practitioners had to work with a physician through a collaborative agreement in order to prescribe medications. Under the new bill, which is the result of negotiations between the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians and the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners & Nurse Midwives, enables nurse practitioners who have been practicing under a collaborative agreement for four years to be exempt from the requirement. They would, however, still need a collaborative agreement with a physician to prescribe controlled substances to patients.

Knowing everything necessary to safely prescribe medications takes considerable training. When you consider that the prescriber has to give appropriate dosages and ensure that drug interactions are avoided, it is fairly easy to realize the importance of proper training.

While giving nurse practitioners more privileges doesn't necessarily mean that medication errors will occur more frequently, this change might be concerning to some people. If feel like you have been injured by a medication error, you might have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. Understanding your rights and responsibilities for claiming compensation might make going through the process less stressful.

Source: Louisville Business First, "Nurse practitioners get more freedom to prescribe drugs" David A. Mann, Feb. 26, 2014

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