Just what the nurse practitioner ordered: Independent prescriptive authority and population mental health

Diane Alexander*, Molly Schnell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examine whether relaxing occupational licensing to allow nurse practitioners (NPs)—registered nurses with advanced degrees—to prescribe medication without physician oversight improves population mental health. Exploiting time-series variation in independent prescriptive authority for NPs from 1990 to 2014, we find that broadening prescriptive authority leads to improvements in self-reported mental health and decreases in mental health–related mortality. These improvements are concentrated in areas that are underserved by physicians and among populations that have difficulty accessing physician-provided care. Our results demonstrate that extending independent prescriptive authority to NPs can help mitigate physician shortages and extend care to disadvantaged populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-162
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Health Economics
Volume66
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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