UPDATE on Controlled Substances Legislation
Dear Fellow Nurse Practitioners;
I am pleased to report that Governor Robert Bentley has signed into law SB 229 that will allow CRNPs and CNMs to prescribe controlled substances in Schedules III-V and provides for Schedule II medications to be prescribed at some time in the future without further legislation.
The next step in the process is for the rules to be established related to the specifics for Schedule III-V. A law is general and covers what is legal and the rules are specific and related to all steps in the process.
The legislation passed includes a section that specifically calls for an advisory panel to be established. The advisory panel will include advanced practice nurses as well as physicians. Amy Wybanga, D'Ann Somerall and I will represent NPAA on the advisory panel.
The week the bill was passed, the BME contacted me and asked that NPAA representatives review the Physician’s Assistant rules (using them as a template) so that recommendations could be made by NPAA for how we would like to see the rules established. The BME reported that they understand that NP practice is very different from PA practice noting that they welcome our feedback prior to establishing rules. Additionally, some of the rules of the PA bill differ from our bill such as discipline –for CRNPs and CNMs discipline will remain under the Board of Nursing as passed into legislation.
For the past several weeks, I have been collecting comments from your regional representatives (who represent you on the steering committee). The comments are being compiled and organized and will be presented during an advisory panel meeting. From there, a draft of the rules will be posted for public comment. When that occurs, I will send you an announcement so you can review the recommendations and make suggestions yourself. I am hopeful that all of the rule making process can be completed prior to the end of the summer however; it is possible that it may take longer.
As more information becomes available, I will continue to post announcements. In the meantime, please feel free to email me via this website or call me at 601-4141 if you have any questions. There is a lot of information floating around about how this will all work as well as people claiming to know who can tell you how it will work. No one has any of the answers at this point. I am committed to keeping each and every one of you informed as we move though this process. I am hopeful that we will have CRNPs and CNMs writing prescriptions no later than the last quarter of this year. It took nearly a year to get all the processes in place for the PAs but it is not expected to take as long for CRNPs or CNMs.
EXCITING CONFERENCE NEWS!!! Mr. Larry Dixon, Executive Director for the BME and Dr. Paul Nagrodzki a member of the BME have confirmed that they will speak at the NPAA 7th Annual Conference scheduled for September 12 & 13 to be held at the Hilton on 280 in Birmingham. As you may remember, they spoke last year and were very well received by the NPAA constituents who were in attendance at the Wynfrey. By September 12th we are all hopeful that all of the processes will be in place and they will present to the attendees at the conference all of the steps in the process of getting a certificate which will allow you to obtain a DEA number. In the meantime, I encourage all of you to begin a conversation with your collaborating physician regarding what you wish to add to your formulary. I feel confident one of the steps will include going through the joint committee for approval of the medications you wish to add. New graduates will need a year of experience as a NP prior to application as noted in the legislation.
Please make plans to attend the conference in September!!! The link for registration will be posted no later than the first week in June. Registration fee will be similar to last year but there will be two full days so it will cost just slightly more than last year.
Again, many thanks to each one of you who have worked so hard to get the bill passed. The final vote for our bill was unanimous which is historic! I hope you will make every effort to thank Senators Greg Reed, Jabo Waggoner and Del Marsh as well as Representative Ron Johnson- all of whom were the sponsors of the bills.
Dr. Joy Deupree President, NPAA