Rallying to improve health care

The power of hundreds of nurses

Posted

Hundreds of nurse practitioners (NPs) from across Pennsylvania traveled to Harrisburg on April 17 to advocate for better access to care for residents. The nurses support Senate Bill 25 and House Bill 100.

Senate Bill 25 was passed in June 2017 and House Bill 100 is awaiting a vote in the House Professional Licensure Committee.

The bills would enable NPs to provide care to patients across Pennsylvania, especially those living in rural and underserved communities, by modernizing the state’s licensure rules. SB 25 and HB 100 have bipartisan support from legislators and numerous statewide and national organizations, including AARP Pennsylvania, the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pa., the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association, and more.

Under the legislation, every nurse practitioner would be required to:

• Have a bachelor’s degree

• Have a master’s degree or doctorate

• Earn national certification

• Comply with the ongoing guidance and oversight of the State Board of Nursing

• Complete 3,600 hours and three years under the existing collaborative agreement mandate before being eligible for full practice authority.

“Pennsylvania needs to keep pace with the national movement for full practice authority," said Adele Caruso, president of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners. "The number of patients who need care keeps growing: seniors who need more care as they age; families newly covered by Medicaid insurance; and many more with unmet health care needs.If Pennsylvania falls behind, our patients will fall behind. We need to send the message loud and clear to our elected leaders. The time is now.”

“Improving access to healthcare in rural Pennsylvania is top priority of mine because so many constituents of my district and districts across the commonwealth have trouble accessing quality, affordable care on a timely basis," said Representative Jesse Toper (R-Bedford), prime sponsor of HB 100. "I sponsored House Bill 100 because I believe that Pennsylvania’s nurse practitioners can step in to improve access to care and quality of life for so many of our residents. I am pleased that the Federal Trade Commission has recently encouraged the House to pass HB 100 and hopeful that we can expand access to care for Pennsylvanians as soon as possible.”

"On behalf of our 1.8 million members, AARP Pennsylvania strongly supports SB 25 and HB 100 which will remove outdated barriers prohibiting nurse practitioners from caring for patients to the full extent of their education and training," offered Joanne Grossi, AARP Pennsylvania State President. "The vast majority of Pennsylvanians want to live independently as they age and will require access to routine care in a variety of settings, particularly in rural and urban undeserved areas where physician shortages may exist.”

The 3,600 hour/three year requirement would make Pennsylvania the strictest state in the country to enact full practice authority.