Nurse Practitioners Thank Sen. Bartolotta for Fighting for Patients
Friday, March 1, 2019
Posted by: Katie Maher
Senate Bill 25 Shows Pennsylvania is Ready for Full Practice Authority
Harrisburg, PA – Patients will be the big winners if a bill introduced this week in Harrisburg becomes law: Senate Bill 25 would modernize Pennsylvania’s rules for nurse practitioners (NPs) in a way that is proven to improve health care quality, increase access and lower costs.
The Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (PCNP), the organization that promotes and protects the practice of more than 12,400 NPs in the Commonwealth, applauded Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington) for her leadership on behalf of patients.
“Senator Bartolotta is a woman of action. She knows that everyone deserves high-quality health care, and she is leading the charge in the Senate to ensure Pennsylvanians benefit from twenty-first century practices. On behalf of our patients, nurse practitioners everywhere thank her for her steadfast advocacy,” said PCNP President Adele Caruso, DNP, CRNP.
Sen. Bartolotta is joined on the bill by Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton) and 27 other cosponsors. Similar legislation passed the Senate 39-to-10 last session, but did not receive a vote in the House.
The bill comes just weeks after the Journal of the American Medical Association published new findings about the crucial and growing role NPs have in low-income and rural areas. From 2010 to 2016, the proportion of NPs in low-income communities rose from 19.8 to 41.1 per 100,000 people, while physicians dipped from 52.9 to 52. In rural communities, the proportion of NPs increased from 25.2 to 41.3 per 100,000 people while physicians dropped from 59.5 to 47.8.
“As a nurse practitioner who has served rural patients my entire career, I could not be prouder to be a constituent of Senator Bartolotta. She knows that access to primary care can be a matter of life and death and that NPs are ready and able to serve the rural communities that need it most,” said Mona Counts, PhD, of Rices Landing, Greene County.
The Pennsylvania Rural Health Association wrote in a letter of support last session: “Nurse practitioners are twice as likely to practice in rural areas compared to physicians, and nurse practitioners in states with full practice authority are more likely to practice in rural areas than nurse practitioners in states like Pennsylvania without Full Practice Authority.”
PCNP is a leading voice in the effort to adopt Full Practice Authority. The organization formally endorses SB25 as part of its ongoing advocacy for more than 12,400 NPs in Pennsylvania.
About Full Practice Authority for Nurse Practitioners
Nurse practitioners, also called certified registered nurse practitioners (CRNPs) or advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), have advanced graduate education with master’s degrees or doctorates, and are nationally certified in their specialty areas. Among their many services, NPs:
· Order, perform and interpret diagnostic tests;
· Diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, infections and injuries;
· Prescribe medications and other treatments;
· And manage a patient’s care.
More than 100 studies have proven that NPs provide safe, high-quality health care.
Currently, in order to practice in Pennsylvania, an NP must secure business contracts, called collaborative agreements, with two physicians. Researchers – including physicians and NPs alike – have proven that this mandate offers no patient health benefits. To the contrary, research shows that the mandate restricts access to care and correlates to worse patient health outcomes.
Senate Bill 25 would end this costly, arbitrary and outdated mandate and make Pennsylvania a Full Practice Authority state. Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia are already using Full Practice Authority to expand access to care, especially for those in underserved rural areas and patients with Medicaid insurance.
Senate Bill 25 would protect patient safety by requiring every NP to work three years and 3,600 hours in a clinical setting prior to earning Full Practice Authority, and all NPs would be overseen permanently by the State Board of Nursing.
About the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners
The Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (PCNP) is the state organization dedicated to advancing, supporting and promoting the role of nurse practitioners. PCNP protects the practice of more than 12,400 certified registered nurse practitioners (CRNPs) in Pennsylvania. Formed in the 1980s by just three forward-thinking NPs, PCNP now has more than 2,000 active members across the commonwealth in 17 regional groups, which provide educational and networking opportunities. The organization strives to improve communications among nurse practitioners, other healthcare professionals, healthcare organizations and the community by providing continuing education programs, fostering networking and professional development, and advocating for affordable, accessible healthcare. Learn more by visiting PACNP.org.