APRN Alliance Applauds Rep. Klick and Sen. Hancock
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Posted by: Suzanna Roberts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2017
APRN Alliance Applauds Rep. Klick and Sen. Hancock for Championing Legislation to Remove Regulatory Barriers for Health Care Providers and their Patients
Austin, Texas (Feb 9, 2016) Today, Texas State Representative Stephanie Klick held a press conference to announce HB 1415/SB 681, legislation that would remove outdated and costly barriers to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) and allow these health care providers to practice to the full extent of their training and education. Surrounded by the APRN Alliance and a broad-based coalition of over 20 business, consumer, and health care organizations supporting the legislation, Rep. Klick touted the bill as a safe, cost-effective solution that will greatly expand access to care in Texas.
"As President of the Texas Nurses Association, I am proud to be partnering with a broad group of diverse stakeholders to improve health care access by ensuring that APRNs are able to practice to the full extent of their training and education,” said Jeff Watson. “Our state has one of the worst shortages of primary care providers in the nation. Removing barriers to practice for APRNs means that more Texans are receiving the care they need."
“Granting APRNs full practice authority utilizes their extensive education and improves access to health care services while decreasing costs at a time when health care expenditures are on the rise,” added Joseph Wenszell, President of the Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetists.
APRNs have a long record as quality, cost-effective providers, and they play a crucial role in caring for Texans and addressing our state’s growing health care needs. Unfortunately, current Texas regulations are preventing them from practicing freely.
Unlike many states, including our neighbors New Mexico and Arizona, Texas law requires APRNs to sign a delegation agreement with a collaborating physician in order to practice, even though the physician may live hundreds of miles away and never see any of the APRN’s patients. This delegation agreement not only adds to both the physician and the APRN’s paperwork and takes times away from patients, but it also comes at a significant cost. In fact, a 2016 study of Texas APRNs found some were forced to pay their delegating physician up to $120,000 every year.
HB 1415/SB 681 would remove the costly and burdensome requirement for a physician delegation agreement and place APRNs under the exclusive regulatory authority of the Texas Board of Nursing. Full practice authority exists in 21 states and the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Meanwhile, lawmakers in neighboring states are spending their tax dollars to recruit Texas-trained APRNS to New Mexico and Arizona, where there are fewer regulatory burdens and lower practice costs.
“We applaud Rep. Klick and Senator Kelly Hancock for filing House Bill 1415 and Senate Bill 681,” said Jan Zdanuk, President of Texas Nurse Practitioners. “APRNs are filling a critical void in the health care provider workforce, but their hands are being tied by outdated regulations to the detriment of Texas patients, especially those in rural and medically underserved areas.”
This point was underscored during today’s press conference when Rep. Klick shared the story of Midland Nurse Practitioner and clinic owner Cheryl Vallie-Porter, who struggles to meet community needs while also paying the large overhead to a physician for her delegation agreement. If Texas were to remove burdensome regulations, more APRNs like Cheryl would have the ability to serve patients in rural and underserved areas without these high costs.
“The Texas Legislature’s adoption of full practice authority for APRNs is essential to providing adequate access to health care for Texans and, in particular, for improving health outcomes for the women and children of Texas by achieving safe, high quality and cost-effective care,” says Niessa Meier, President of the Consortium of Texas Certified Nurse-Midwives.
Texas has a health care provider shortage in over half of its counties. Fortunately, the rapidly growing workforce of 20,000 APRNs is uniquely situated to fill the health care provider gap.
“APRNs play an indispensable role in caring for Texans,” said Linda Humphries, President of Texas Clinical Nurse Specialists. "Allowing APRN's to practice to the full extent of their education and training will ensure that more patients will be able to access the vital care they need.”
On February 10, 350 APRNs representing the united voice of nursing will gather at the Texas Capitol for an APRN Alliance Capitol Day. They plan to meet with legislators to show and garner support for HB 1415/SB 681.
For more information, please contact:
Texas Nurse Practitioners
Texas Nurses Association
Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Texas Clinical Nurse Specialists
Consortium of Texas Certified Nurse-Midwives