Bill that would give nurse practitioners more authority passes Oklahoma House

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would give certified nurse practitioners more authority has passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

House Bill 1013 would allow nurse practitioners to write prescriptions without doctor supervision.

Nurse practitioners say it would save them money, and help with the primary care shortage across Oklahoma.

“I own my own clinic, and currently we have to have a supervising physician, which means we have to pay for that service. That’s an expense, and I don’t have very many employees,” Kristi Sager, an advanced registered nurse practitioner, told NewsChannel 4 last month.

Currently, she says she is forced to pay two doctors $1,000 a month.

“If I did not have to hire another supervising physician for me or other providers, I could open up the hours in my clinic and have more providers,” Sager said.

However, some doctors don’t think the bill would translate to better patient care.

“They have a role. They are vital, these physician extenders, but I think we have to understand education is not the same, and so you can’t treat them the same,” Dr. Sherri Baker, a pediatric cardiologist, said.

The measure passed the House on Wednesday by a 72-20 vote.

“This will increase access to health care services for those who live in our rural communities where we have physician shortages,” said Rep. Josh Cockroft, an author of the bill. “I’m happy to carry a bill that helps people get the quality of care they need in a timely manner and close to home.”

“This is a great step toward improving access to health care services for all Oklahomans,” said Toni Pratt-Reid, president of the Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners (AONP). “Nurse practitioners, who have masters or doctorate degrees, have the education and training needed to do more to address the critical health care shortage in our state.”

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