Major Health Systems Endorse Bill to Modernize Pennsylvania Nurse Practitioner Law
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Harrisburg, PA (February 3, 2020) – Major health systems across Pennsylvania have endorsed Senate Bill 25. As session resumes, they urge lawmakers to enact Full Practice Authority for nurse practitioners (NPs). The reform is proven to improve health care quality, increase access to care, and lower costs.
Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals: “Let Pennsylvania be recognized as a state that embraced legislation to improve access, quality and cost of care by passing SB25. This legislation will unburden organizations such as ours from unnecessary, excessive, administrative and regulatory documentation and lengthy delays to practice.”
Penn Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania Health System: “Senate Bill 25 would increase access to quality care in rural and urban communities who have high unmet health care needs and potentially lower the cost of health care in the Commonwealth.”
Geisinger Health System: “Geisinger is undergoing a large-scale primary care redesign effort to better serve our mostly rural population. The ability to better utilize our Nurse Practitioners is critical to this work. Senate Bill 25 would afford our health care facilities greater flexibility when responding to the needs of patients and families.”
Lehigh Valley Health Network: “We support passage of the legislation and feel it would improve patient care and access to care by increasing the pool of qualified caregivers,” Dr. Thomas Whalen, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer told the Pocono Record. “I think the biggest benefit of this legislation would be in rural areas where physician shortages are most prominent.”
Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania: “The changing nature of health care requires that all members of the health care team work together as part of an inter-professional team. Senate Bill 25 is consistent with the team care delivery models being used by hospitals and health systems. In order to meet the growing health care needs in the commonwealth, every member of the health care team must be able to practice to the full scope of their license. Senate Bill 25 does not change NPs’ scope of license.”
“At every level of health care, from health systems to individual practitioners, we share the same mission: to improve the lives and health of our patients. We also share a responsibility to do all we can to enhance the quality of care we provide. This philosophy guides our approach to public policy. Senate Bill 25, Full Practice Authority for nurse practitioners, will improve patient health, increase access to care, and lower costs. It’s time for Pennsylvania patients to benefit from this proven reform,” said Dr. Adele Caruso, DNP, CRNP, President of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners.
The health systems join a wide-ranging, bipartisan list of supporters who trust nurse practitioners to care for Pennsylvanians.
In addition to health systems, almost every major health care stakeholder group in Pennsylvania has endorsed Senate Bill 25. Supporters include patient care advocates like AARP Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Homecare Association and SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania; free market advocates like the Commonwealth Foundation and Americans for Prosperity; the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association; newspaper editorial boards; and many, many more. The lone source of opposition to this proven reform comes from physician trade associations.
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 population focus 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;
· 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 and House Bill 100 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 and House Bill 100 require a Transition to Practice period. Each new NP must work three years and 3,600 hours in a clinical setting prior to earning Full Practice Authority as regulated 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 13,700 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.