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Office of the Senate President


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News Release


                                                                        February 7, 2013


Senate Approves Measure Allowing Nurse

Practitioners to Dispense Medication

(SALEM) -- The Oregon Senate Thursday approved legislation that will help expand access to health care in Oregon, particularly in metropolitan areas where a shortage of primary care providers sometimes means long waits for those seeking care.


Senate Bill 8, sponsored by Senate President Peter Courtney, allows nurse practitioners statewide to dispense medicine. As the state works to expand healthcare to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Oregonians, there simply aren’t enough doctors to see and treat everyone, Courtney said.


“Ensuring access to healthcare for more Oregonians means we have to increase the number of primary care providers in our state. Further empowering nurse practitioners to dispense medication expands the number of health care professionals who can fill that role,” said Courtney (D-Salem/Gervais/Woodburn).


“Nurses are on the front lines in health care,” said Senator Laurie Monnes-Anderson, a public health nurse who presented the bill on the floor of the Senate. “This measure will allow nurse practitioners to play an expanding role as Oregon leads the nation in making health care more affordable and accessible.”


Nurse practitioners in rural counties already have the authority to dispense medicine. Passage of Senate Bill 8 would grant that authority statewide. It follows a year after lawmakers approved another Courtney-sponsored measure which granted the same statewide authority to physician assistants.


The measure, which passed 28-0, now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.