AARP Oklahoma announces support of full practice authority for nurse practitioners
HB 1013 addresses primary care shortage in rural Oklahoma, helps caregivers
OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 31, 2017) AARP Oklahoma today announced their support of a measure that would increase Oklahomans’ access to health care, take steps toward addressing the shortage of primary health care providers, and support caregivers.
House Bill 1013, by Rep. Josh Cockroft (R-Wanette) and Senate author A.J. Griffin (R-Guthrie), would grant Oklahoma nurse practitioners (NPs) the freedom to practice to the full extent of their education and training, enabling them to serve Oklahomans where care is most needed.
This is especially important in rural areas of the state that are medically underserved.
“Oklahomans already face a shortage of primary care providers and that problem will only become more acute as our population ages,” said Sean Voskuhl, state director of AARP Oklahoma. “The shortage means some Oklahomans are driving long distances and waiting days for appointments for primary care, not to mention a lack of consumer choice. Delays in care not only hurt the consumers, but place added stress on family caregivers, who are all too often overwhelmed with bearing the brunt of providing and overseeing the care of a loved one.”
A January 2016 SoonerPoll surveyed 410 likely voters asking, “Do you support or oppose allowing nurse practitioners, who have advanced training, to serve as the primary or acute care provider of record for a patient?” In response, 86.7% said they support allowing a nurse practitioner to operate with full practice authority.
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Retired Registered Nurse and AARP Executive Board Member Mary Overall said, “HB 1013 is a common-sense measure that will help increase access to quality health care for all Oklahomans. Nurse practitioners are highly educated, have years of training and are eager to serve their fellow Oklahomans. Lawmakers should give them that chance.”
Under current state law, nurse practitioners must pay for a collaborative agreement with a doctor in order to work, even though the doctors may never see an NP’s patients or review their charts. HB 1013 would not change the scope of practice for NPs, but would eliminate a needless and antiquated regulatory burden.
A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who holds a master’s or doctoral degree and is prepared to provide a wide range of preventative and health care services.
Twenty-one states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense and the Bureau of Indian Affairs grant full practice authority to NPs. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently granted full practice authority to all NPs working in veterans’ facilities anywhere in the country.
“Nurse practitioners across the state are grateful for the support of AARP Oklahoma and we look forward to working with them to give all Oklahomans, including seniors, increased access and choice for their health care needs,” said Toni Pratt-Reid, president of the Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners.
Voskuhl pointed out that increasing the number of NPs working in Oklahoma can work hand-in-hand with telemedicine to increase health care access across the state.
“Increased use of telemedicine technology would give nurse practitioners, working as primary care providers, the opportunity to coordinate care with medical professionals across the state,” Voskuhl said. “That would save many Oklahomans long drives to Oklahoma City or Tulsa to see specialists in person.
The shortage of health care options in rural Oklahoma is quickly becoming a crisis, Voskuhl said.
“HB 1013 presents one part of a solution that is good for Oklahoma seniors, for rural Oklahomans and for health care consumers in every corner of our state,” he said.