Nurse prac­ti­tion­ers are ham­pered by Penn­syl­va­nia re­quire­ment

The Morning Call - - TOWN SQUARE | A PLACE TO BE HEARD -

As nurse prac­ti­tion­ers with 55 years of com­bined ex­pe­ri­ence serv­ing Le­high Val­ley fam­i­lies, and as ed­u­ca­tors of NPs, we must re­spond to a re­cent op-ed about our pro­fes­sion (“Your View by Pa. Med­i­cal So­ci­ety: Why nurse prac­ti­tion­ers need col­lab­o­ra­tive agree­ments with doc­tors,” The Morn­ing Call, Sept. 7). It is one thing to dis­agree over a po­lit­i­cal is­sue, but quite an­other to mis­rep­re­sent NPs and the qual­ity of our ed­u­ca­tion.

NPs are proven to be ex­cel­lent care providers. NP re­quire­ments are rig­or­ous; all NPs must earn a bach­e­lor’s in nurs­ing, a mas­ter’s or doc­tor­ate in our spe­cialty area, and na­tional board cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Un­for­tu­nately, our abil­ity to serve pa­tients is ham­pered by a state re­quire­ment that we have business con­tracts with physi­cians. A pro­posed re­form ti­tled Full Prac­tice Au­thor­ity, Se­nate Bill 25, would change the con­tracts from manda­tory to op­tional. The bill has bi­par­ti­san sup­port and the en­dorse­ment of 28 or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing Le­high Val­ley Health Net­work. Physi­cian as­so­ci­a­tions are alone in their op­po­si­tion to this re­form.

Twenty-two other states have these new rules. Full Prac­tice Au­thor­ity for NPs im­proves health care qual­ity, in­creases ac­cess and low­ers costs.

NPs and physi­cians work to­gether in all 50 states, and in Penn­syl­va­nia, we al­ways will. This is not about NPs or physi­cians. It is about the pa­tients. We urge law­mak­ers to sup­port SB25. Kath­leen Gray The writer is as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor and di­rec­tor of Nurse Prac­ti­tioner Pro­grams, Mo­ra­vian Col­lege, and past pres­i­dent of the Le­high Val­ley As­so­ci­a­tion of Nurse Prac­ti­tion­ers. Carol Gullo Mest The writer is pro­fes­sor and chair of Grad­u­ate Nurs­ing Pro­grams, DeSales Univer­sity.

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