Divided Mich. Senate Votes to Expand Nurses' Role

FILE - In this Thursday, May 3, 2012 file photo, nurses Fatima Guillen, left, and Fran Wendt, right, give Kimberly Magdeleno, 4, a whooping cough booster shot, as she is held by her mother, (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Nurse practitioners and other nurses with extra training could practice in Michigan without oversight by physicians and prescribe drugs under legislation that has cleared a hurdle in Lansing.

The Senate on Wednesday voted 20-18 to recognize registered nurses with advanced training under state law. Backers say the bill could lead to more competition, reduced medical costs and offset impending doctor shortages as baby boomers retire.

Supporters say demand for health practitioners will rise as more residents qualify for insurance under the federal health law.

Doctors opposing the legislation say it effectively lets nurses act as physicians with far less training.

The bill now goes to the House. It was amended to require that advanced nurses initially be supervised for four years by a doctor.

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