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West Virginia to expand prescribing powers for nurses

March 30th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

Some West Virginia nurses will soon have expanded abilities to prescribe treatments.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed the nursing bill Tuesday after the Republican-led Legislature passed it. It takes effect in June.

Advanced practice nurses, including nurse practitioners, can now prescribe through collaboration with a doctor.

The new law will let them prescribe medications without a doctor, with exceptions.

For example, they won't be able to prescribe Schedule II drugs, including powerful painkillers, on their own. They could only prescribe Schedule III medications for up to 30 day supplies without refills.

Advocates said it will help care for underserved rural areas.

Doctors had opposed it because nurses don't undergo the same training as doctors.

Twenty-one other states and Washington, D.C. let advanced practice nurses prescribe Schedules II-V drugs.

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