Healthcare Business News

Kentucky expands nurses' prescribing authority, and other news

By Modern Healthcare
Posted: July 19, 2014 - 12:01 am ET

A new Kentucky state law that expands prescribing authority for advanced practice registered nurses took effect last week.

The measure represents a compromise after years of contentious debate. At the close of the 2013 legislative session, statehouse leaders instructed the Kentucky Medical Association, the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians and the Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives to settle their differences on the issue.

The law allows nurse practitioners to prescribe independently after prescribing under physician supervision for four years. If NPs from another state have been prescribing, either independently or under supervision for four years, they are eligible to prescribe in Kentucky. The law also establishes a Collaborative Prescribing Agreement Joint Advisory Committee composed of three advanced practice RNs with prescribing experience and three physicians with advanced-practice-RN-supervision experience. —Andis Robeznieks

Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks

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LHC Group continues home health expansion

LHC Group, Lafayette, La., has agreed to buy the assets of 14 home health agencies as the post-acute-care provider continues an aggressive acquisition strategy.

The publicly traded company forged an agreement with Life Care Home Health, the home health division of Life Care Centers of America, based in Cleveland, Tenn. For $10 million in cash, LHC will take control of Life Care's home health agencies, which are scattered across seven states.

LHC—and other large home health providers—has turned to consolidation to help offset declining Medicare payments. The CMS expects to cut home health payments by $22 billion through fiscal 2017.

LHC recently completed a $60 million deal to acquire Deaconess HomeCare, adding 32 post-acute facilities to its ranks. Adding in other smaller deals, and the Life Care transaction, LHC will operate 352 locations in 30 states. —Bob Herman

Follow Bob Herman on Twitter: @MHbherman

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