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Bill would allow some Michigan nurses to prescribe drugs

Mar 16, 2015

Credit DMedina / morgueFile

Some Michigan nurses would be able to prescribe drugs without a doctor’s consent. That’s under a bill up for a state Senate committee hearing on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 68 would allow nurses with additional training to be licensed to treat, diagnose, and prescribe drugs to patients. Advanced practice registered nurses would include certified nurse midwives, certified nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialist-certifieds. 

Supporters say it’s one way to help address physician shortages in many rural areas of the state.

“We are continuing to fall behind the trend line in terms of providing adequate access across the state,” said bill sponsor Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, who chairs the Senate Health Policy Committee.

He says the bill would “finally acknowledge advance practice registered nurses in Michigan’s Public Health Code so that they can actually practice to the full scope of their training.”

Some physicians’ groups say it would discourage people from getting the extensive training needed to become a doctor.

Shirkey says he doesn’t buy that argument.

“It is limited to their training and expertise,” he said. “And why anyone would take exception to that – quite frankly, I think it’s just turf protection.”

Similar legislation cleared the state Senate during the last legislative session, but it never moved in the state House.

Shirkey says he intends to hold a vote on the legislation next week, assuming there’s enough support for the bill in committee.

*This post has been updated to name the specific groups to which the bill applies.