AARP Michigan has sent the following letter to state legislators seeking support for House passage of Senate Bill 2 before the Legislature adjourns for the year:
I am writing on behalf of AARP Michigan to urge you to support Senate Bill 2,which would allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to use a greater scope of their extensive training to treat Michigan patients. AARP supports SB 2 because it will increase consumers’ access to health care and reduce unnecessary health care costs.
AARP is concerned that the legislative debate over this bill has been inaccurately framed as a “doctors versus nurses” issue. It is not. Senate Bill 2 represents a patient care issue first and foremost, and it is also an important state policy and budget matter.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Health Resources & Services Administration, Michigan currently has 713 medically underserved areas or populations where we have a shortage of primary care physicians. Michigan’s medically underserved areas (MUAs) exist both in urban core communities, and in more rural areas. In fact, we have MUAs in the majority of Michigan’s 83 counties. In those places where we have a shortage of primary care physicians in our state, patients are more likely to face delays in care which can lead to worse health outcomes and higher costs.
A December 2012 report from the National Governors Association, The Role of Nurse Practitioners in Meeting Increasing Demand for Primary Care, documents that nurse practitioners provide high quality care with high patient satisfaction. That report recommends that states consider removing barriers to practice for nurse practitioners – like the ones we have in Michigan – and encourage their greater role in meeting the growing demand for primary care. The Institute of Medicine’s 2010 evidence-based report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, similarly recommends that states like Michigan increase consumer access to care by enabling APRNs to practice to the full extent of their education and training.
Senate Bill 2 will increase consumers’ access to health care by removing the outdated barriers that prohibit APRNs in Michigan from providing care to the full extent of their education and training. SB 2 passed the Senate in 2013, and in September the House Health Policy Committee held a hearing on the bill,but no voting took place.
AARP urges the House to pass SB 2 before the end of this year. If you have any questions or if there is further information we can provide, please feel free to contact me at LCooper@AARP.org or 517-267-8923 . Thank you for your consideration and your work on this important issue.
Lisa Dedden Cooper
Manager of Advocacy