FTC Staff Comment to the Senate of West Virginia Concerning the Competitive Impact of WV Senate Bill 516 on the Regulation of Certain Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)


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FTC staff submitted a comment, in response to a request from West Virginia State Senator Kent Leonhardt, on the competitive impact of a legislative proposal to modify the supervision requirements imposed on West Virginia APRNs. The bill would permit some APRNs, under limited conditions, to write prescriptions without a formal agreement with a particular supervising physician. The bill would also place the regulation of certain APRNs under the authority of the West Virginia Board of Medicine or Board of Osteopathy. Although the comment noted potential patient benefits if APRNs were able to engage in some independent prescribing, the comment emphasized that undue regulatory restrictions on APRN practice, including mandatory physician oversight, can impose significant competitive costs on patients and third-party payors, and may frustrate the development of innovative and effective models of team-based health care. The comment also noted that because the bill “would assign regulatory authority over APRN prescribing to the Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy, it raises concerns about potential biases and conflicts of interest.” The comment urged the legislature to consider whether these proposed requirements are necessary to assure patient safety, noting that removing unnecessary and burdensome requirements may benefit West Virginia consumers by increasing competition among health care providers.