Some Mississippi lawmakers want to change how nurse practitioners can operate in the state.

House Bill 1303 passed out of the chamber this week and seeks to rename nurse practitioners as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). It would also allow nurse practitioners to practice and provide care without being in contract with a physician.

Three local House members – Republicans Rep. Lester “Bubba” Carpenter of Burnsville, Rep. Tracy Arnold of Booneville and Rep. Jody Steverson of Ripley voted to pass the bill in a House vote of 78-28. Republican Rep. Nick Bain of Corinth abstained.

Mississippi’s current law states nurse practitioners must work in a collaboration with a medical doctor in order to provide care. The law requires the doctor to review 10 percent of patient charts each month. A nurse practitioner pays the doctor a monthly fee for the services. Average fees range from $1,500 to $5,000 per month.

The companion Senate Bill 2007 failed before making it out of committee.

Another medical bill was passed by the House this week.

House Bill 1302 would change the scope of care for optometrists through the State Board of Optometry and allow them to examine, diagnose, manage and treat conditions and diseases of the eye and eyelid.

The bill would require optometrists receive additional education and training in order to provide the additional services. It would also allow for a three-year pilot program for laser procedures to clear up foggy vision as a result of cataract surgery.

The bill passed 89-34 with support from Bain, Carpenter, Arnold, and Steverson.

During his weekly press briefing on Thursday, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann said he expects “much debate” regarding the two bills when they make it to the Senate floor.

(Capitol Connections by Daily Corinthian staff writer Zack Steen appears during the Mississippi Legislative session and includes news and notes from local lawmakers.)

Staff Writer

Zack Steen was first hired in 1999 as a junior in high school to work in the Daily Corinthian design department. After several years away, he returned in 2014 as staff writer. He's married to the love of his life Brandy and they have 5 wonderful fur-kids.

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