Full Practice Authority for Nurse Practitioners Expands Care for PA
Pennsylvania patients face major changes and challenges today and in the coming years. Thankfully, nurse practitioners are ready, willing, able – and nationally certified – to expand access to health care state.
Elected officials have the opportunity to ensure more people can access quality care by modernizing state law and allowing these highly trained professionals to serve patients to their fullest potential. Senate Bill 25 will make these important changes a reality. Here’s why it’s so important to support them:
Patients come first. Nurse practitioners provide proven, high-quality care to patients. Over the past 50 years every major study on NP care – over 100 – have shown that nurse practitioners’ patient health outcomes are as good or better than other providers. That’s because NPs choose a population focus earlier in their education. Their philosophy guides NPs to take a holistic approach. They look at – and listen to – the entire patient.
Pennsylvanians need more primary care. The shortage of primary care providers already impacts residents – particularly in underserved rural and urban areas. Nearly 3 million Pennsylvanians currently are enrolled in Medicaid, 700,000 of whom gained coverage via the 2015 expansion. Over 80% of all NPs are educated to provide primary care. We must act quickly to ensure Pennsylvanians can depend on access to quality health care in the years to come.
Nurse practitioners serve rural communities. Current regulations limit access to care for rural Pa. Nurse practitioners are twice as likely as physicians to serve rural communities, and NPs in states with Full Practice Authority are more likely to practice in rural areas compared to states – without it.
It saves money. Outdated regulations put red tape between nurse practitioners and patients. Free market advocates support Full Practice Authority for nurse practitioners because increased competition in health care is good for patients – and consumers. Unlike other proposals to expand access to care, Full Practice Authority won’t cost taxpayers a dime.
Experience and experts agree. 26 states and Washington, DC have already adopted Full Practice Authority. The National Academy of Medicine, AARP, the National Governor’s Association, the Federal Trade Commission, and the National Conference of State Legislatures have all endorsed the policy.
Team-based, patient-centered care will remain strong. Patients are healthiest when they can access the health care system easily and affordably. Nurse practitioners are trained to work as part of a health care team – it is part of our core philosophy. Just as physicians need no mandate to refer patients to a specialist, NPs work with other health care professionals any time it benefits the health of a patient.
Nurse Practitioners care for our Seniors.
This legislation is endorsed by AARP Pennsylvania. Researchers compared states that have full practice authority to those that don’t. They found that Medicare and Medicaid patients experience 50% more unnecessary hospitalizations in states like Pennsylvania without full practice authority compared to states that have it.
Nurse Practitioners care for Rural Pennsylvanians.
This legislation is supported by the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association. Rural communities currently have roughly half the physicians per capita as non-rural areas. Urban and suburban areas have one physician for every 382 residents. Rural Pennsylvania has one primary care physician for every 663 residents. 2.5 million people – 22% of Pennsylvanians including areas of 55 of 67 counties – reside in designated shortage or medically underserved areas.