Oelslager Reintroduces APN Schedule II Prescribing Bill

Senate Bill 83, which would allow advance practice nurses to prescribe schedule II medications, has been introduced by State Senator Scott Oelslager (R –North Canton) with Senator Charleta Tavares (D - Columbus) and Capri Cafaro (D-Youngstown) serving as co- sponsors. 

The bill is similar to HB 206, which was also sponsored by Oelslager during the last session.  It passed the Ohio House of Representatives, May 19, by a 85-13 vote, but was not heard in the Senate.  Like its predecessor, SB 83:

  •  Eliminates restrictions on the authority of certain advanced practice nurses (APNs) to prescribe schedule II controlled substances.
  • Prohibits an APN from prescribing any schedule II controlled substance to a patient in a convenience care clinic.
  • Eliminates the prohibition on an APN prescribing schedule II controlled substances in collaboration with a podiatrist.
  • Requires an APN applying for a certificate to prescribe to complete a course of study that consists of at least 45 contact hours in pharmacology and related topics, of which at least 36 (instead of 30) must be contact hours of advanced pharmacology training.
  • Requires that the course of study in pharmacology and related topics include training in schedule II controlled substances.
  • Requires an APN with prescriptive authority on the bill's effective date to complete at least six contact hours of training on schedule II controlled substances and specifies that the APN is subject to the restrictions in current law until the APN receives a new or renewed certificate to prescribe.
  • Requires the Committee on Prescriptive Governance to make recommendations that include provisions regarding schedule II controlled substances.
  • Requires the Board of Nursing to adopt rules as necessary to implement the authority of APNs to prescribe schedule II controlled substances.

The OOA and the Ohio State Medical Association testified against the bill in the previous session, citing the highly addictive nature of Schedule II's and the widespread problem Ohio is having with prescription abuse and diversion.   As an alternative the two associations  proposed allowing APNs to prescribe in certain settings like hospices, mental health facilities, and similar facilities where physicians are usually present.

Senator Oelslager counters opponents by saying that 31  states already allow schedule II prescribing by APNs and have not experienced problems.  He further argues  that physicians have control over whether nurses prescribe Schedule II's or not through mandatory collaborative agreements APNs must sign with a physician.  

APNs in Ohio are currently able to prescribe Schedule II's for terminally ill patients, but only  for a 24 hour supply after the initial prescription has been written by a physician. 

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