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It's a Win -- A BIG WIN! HB 287 is going to the Senate Floor!

Posted 7 months ago by Melissa J Hinton

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Nurse Practitioners,

Today was an incredible win for you and your practice. Representative Doug Welton and Julie Balk, along with several members of our Legislative Committee, were in attendance this afternoon for the Senate Health & Human Services Committee review of language changes and negotiations with the Utah Medical Association. HB 287 will give Utah NPs full-practice authority.

What does that mean for HB 287? We passed the HHS Committee with a unanimous vote and with praise for the professionalism displayed during negotiations. The BIG WIN is that the UMA officially withdrew their opposition to this bill! After going back to the house for a quick authorization of language changes, we will have only one hurdle left....our bill needs to go to the Senate Floor for final vote. This could happen as soon as Wednesday. The session ends Friday, but HB 287 is a "Priority Bill" which means it has priority to be heard over other bills and before the session ends.

We will need your education skills and passion for nursing to educate your senators about our practice and make this a banner year for NPs in Utah. Please contact your senator and let them know what our bill is about, that NPs are safe prescribers, and that you are asking for their vote in support of HB 287-Nurse Practice Act Ammendments. Please mention that the UMA has withdrawn their opposition. There are not as many senators as house representatives so each and every vote will count. Please let us know if your senator plans to vote yes or no.

You can review the attached documents for you to use in discussion and use the jpg to send electronically to your senator, and again right before the vote. Because the final floor vote could be fairly quick, please take 5 minutes to reach out to them right now. Previous announcements on the UNP home page also include more documents to help you if you have questions. Click here for the current language which removes all C&R requirements and pain clinic restrictions. The bill also pares down the new solo-practice NP restrictions from the current C&R to a 1,000 hour non-signature "mentorship" consistent with surrounding states, and 7 hours of opiate education for state controlled substance prescribing. NP practice after 1 year has no limitations or restrictions and renewal goes back to the state requirement of 3.5 hours of opiate training. The language includes our education requirements for a Master's-prepared NP, but does not impose anything new.

Congratulations to the Legislative Committee and to all Utah NPs!


For your information:

Nurse Practitioner Controlled Substance Prescribing

Myth or Fact? 

MYTH: “Newly licensed Nurse Practitioners (NPs) do not have adequate education/experience to prescribe controlled substances” 

FACT: NPs must pass standardized national certification exams.  These exams are psychometrically-sound, legally defensible, competence-based examinations. All NPs complete graduate level course work in Advanced Pharmacology, which includes pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and pharmacotherapeutics of all broad categories of agents (including controlled substances).

MYTH: “Nurse Practitioners do not have to complete the same education requirements for controlled substance prescribing as that of their peers”

FACT: NPs complete the exact same requirements for controlled substance education as our MD/PA peers.  Utah Nurse Practitioners, as a compromise with Utah Medical Association, has agreed to have newly licensed NPs in solo, independent practice complete double the controlled substance education hour one-time requirement which returns to standard requirements after 1 year/2,000 hours of practice.

MYTH: “It is dangerous to let new Nurse Practitioners prescribe schedule II controlled substances during the opioid epidemic”  

FACT: NPs in Utah have been safely prescribing schedule II controlled substances for years without physician oversight.  In an article by Benjamin McMichael titled Scope of Practice Laws and Patient Safety:  Evidence from the Opioid Crisis states that when NPs were granted full practice authority, the total dose of opioids actually decreased by 1.2% across all providers.  

MYTH: “It is dangerous to have Nurse Practitioners own or operate a pain clinic”

FACT: The Department of Health & Human Services Pain Management Best Practices Report stated “addressing barriers to access to care is essential in optimizing pain care”.  Furthermore “Current inconsistencies and fragmentation of pain care limit best practices and patient outcomes”.  Patients with chronic pain are best managed in specialty pain management clinics where rigorous monitoring with assessment and early intervention for addiction behaviors are daily practice for reduction in illicit drug use and suicide.

MYTH: “Limiting all Nurse Practitioner’s ability to prescribe controlled substances promotes safety for the people of Utah”

FACT: Laws that restrict NP scope of practice decreases access to care, especially in our rural areas that are designated health care provider shortage areas. Restrictions to practice decrease competition and innovation and increase costs without any benefit to patient safety. Additionally, Utah NPs have been prescribing independently for years.