Other Issues

Lack of access to health care is a reported problem in some areas of the state. Some counties have no physician in the entire county. It is difficult for poor rural areas to attract doctors.

A bill to remove some restrictions on nurse practitioners' ability to diagnose illnesses, prescribe medications and coordinate care has been submitted by the Alabama Nursing Association. At the present time state law allows them to prescribe some medicines but not controlled drugs and the name of a collaborating physician must be listed on each prescription. Many states allow nurse practitioners more leeway in the delivery of health care and, in fact, to have their own clinics. It could help alleviate the lack of access to medical care in rural and poor urban areas where doctors are sparse. The Medical Association is opposed to this legislation. This deserves more research and discussion.

One question which has been asked is why Blue Cross Blue Shield covers 89% of the health insurance in this state. Apparently legislation was passed years ago granting BC/BS certain status. We have obtained no definitive information regarding this action.

Facts & Issues: Health Care in Alabama