There are several recent Utah bills passed that are aimed at affecting the obligations of healthcare establishments and employees. These bills are critical to be aware of for nurse practitioners, especially within the scope of prescribing. It should be emphasized that the nursing Board rules serve as a foundation for APRNs’ appropriate and significant practice. Below, the primary aspects of the mentioned legal regulations in the framework of APRN prescribing will be discussed.
First, House Bill 251 implies that in case care providers know about drug diversion, they are obliged to report to law enforcement. In particular, according to this Utah law, individuals are guilty when they provide no reporting after they figure out that practitioners divert 500 and more morphine milligram equivalents to others in an unlawful way (H.B. 251, 2019). This regulation refers to a wide range of healthcare system employees – starting from physicians and ending with nurses and pharmacists. It should be noted that before this bill, employers or healthcare establishments learned about such diversion, they had to report to the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. Today, reporting to law enforcement is obligatory as well.
Then, following House Bill 191, before opiates are prescribed for patients who have never taken such drugs or have not been prescribed one during the last year, prescribers are to discuss several issues with them. These issues mostly include associated risks and reasons for opiate prescribing (H.B. 191, 2019). To adhere to this law, practitioners, including APRNs, are to thoroughly document all aspects of the mentioned discussion in the patient records.
Finally, House Bill 336 brings some amendments to the Utah Practice Act within the scope of APRN prescribing. It seems to loosen the required oversight for APRNs in the framework of Schedule II medication prescription (Scope of Practice Policy, 2021). In particular, this bill implies that APRN is not obliged to have a referral plan and consult so that he or they could undertake the mentioned drug prescribing. Nevertheless, the APRN that falls within the conditions below still should have referral plans and consult to provide Schedule II medications. These are, “Those engaged in independent solo practice and who: have been licensed as an advanced practice registered nurse less than one year; have less than 2,000 hours of experience practicing as a licensed advanced practice registered nurse; or own or operate a pain clinic” (H.B. 336, 2019, 58-31b-803). What is more, amendments also provide APRN who has at least three years of practice with the opportunity to supervise the obligatory consultations and referral plans.
To conclude, the crucial legal issues regarding APRN prescribing for today were discussed. An emphasis was made on House Bills 251, 191, and 336. The former two refer to the wide range of healthcare practitioners, including APRNs. They cover the aspects of illegal drug diversion and opiate prescription, respectively. Then, the latter one refers to APRN prescribing practice directly, losing the restrictions in this regard.
H.B. 191 Controlled Substance Abuse Amendments (2019). Web.
H.B. 251 Drug Diversion Reporting Requirements (2019). Web.
H.B. 336 Nurse Practice Act Amendments (2019). Web.
Scope of Practice Policy. (2021). Utah scope of practice policy: State profile. Scope of Practice Policy. Web.