Columbus - 
The Ohio Senate (32-1) concurred today on House amendments to Senate Bill 83, sponsored by State Senator Scott Oelslager (R- North Canton), which allows Advanced Practice Nurses under certain circumstances to prescribe schedule II substances. This legislation, which has been in the works for five years, is permissive and can only be implemented if the supervising physician agrees to allow an APN to prescribe. "This is a huge victory for all Ohioans. Everyone is affected, whether you are a patient, your mother is a patient, or your child is a patient; access to prompt healthcare from Advanced Practice Nurses is critical," Oelslager said. APNs practice as Certified Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists and Certified Nurse Midwives. They hold a 4-year baccalaureate degree in nursing, complete a masters or doctoral degree with coursework in pharmacology throughout the program and are nationally certified by specialty. APNs also complete a prescribing externship of 1500 hours with strict supervision. This legislation will require that all APNs collaborate with a physician under the terms of a collaborative agreement, called a Standard Care Agreement. The Standard Care Agreement outlines the way in which the APN and physician collaborate and includes terms of prescriptive practice. Access to schedule II medications is an important part of the treatment to these patients. In working with the Ohio State Medical Association, the bill includes some setting restrictions for the APNs to prescribe, such as a health care facility operated by the Department of Mental Health or Department of Developmental Disabilities, a nursing home licensed by the Department of Health or a political subdivision, a county home or district home that participates in Medicare or Medicaid, hospice care programs, an entity owned or controlled, in part, by a hospital and a medical practices. This legislation also grants the Board of Nursing the authority to discipline nurses who self-administer schedule I controlled substances. "Amending the ORC to enhance the APNs ability to prescribe Schedule II drugs will foster access to prompt, appropriate patient care in a safe and effective manner. Lack of patient access to care can lead to increased health care costs related to emergency room visits and prolonged hospitalizations. We need to foster access that actually encourages lower health care costs through quick treatment that may prevent further illness and expense," Oelslager said. "Senate Bill 83 will provide prompt and thorough treatment of pain, which is important in the restoration of function and promotion of quality of life for these patients," Oelslager added. "I also believe this bill will provide improved access to care for patients in underserved areas such as rural communities or crowded urban settings." Thirty-three other states have already passed laws to improve the ability of APNs to prescribe Schedule II drugs. The bill is now on the way to the Governor. If you would like to read the bill analysis or would like to access the full legislation, you can visit and click on Senate Bill 83 from the 129th General Assembly.
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