COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 19, 2015) – Today, State Representative Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville) introduced legislation to modernize laws allowing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) to practice to the full extent of their education, training and certification. APRNs include Certified Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, Clinical Nurse Specialists and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. This legislation is one solution that will address the shortage of primary care providers in Ohio.
Ohio’s current laws governing APRNs are outdated and interfere with an APRN’s ability to provide needed primary health care, especially to vulnerable populations in medically underserved areas. H.B. 216 is not an expansion of APRN scope-of-practice. Instead, it removes unnecessary regulatory restrictions on APRN practice that create barriers to access, cause delay in treatment, and contribute to health care inefficiency. H.B. 216 highlights include:
- Removal of a mandated, written practice arrangement with a physician
- Removal of physician supervision requirement for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs)
- Modernization of CRNA prescriptive authority
- Removal of a confusing and unnecessary, multi-page (35+ pages) drug formulary
“Our health care system is at a tipping point and it’s time to make a change that will benefit Ohioans,” said Representative Pelanda. “As the number of primary care physicians declines, the aging population and number of insured patients entering the system are increasing. This imbalance puts Ohioans’ health care at risk. The good news is Ohio’s APRNs are qualified to provide safe, high-quality care to help fill this gap and be part of the solution. Unfortunately, our current laws restrict APRNs from helping patients to the full extent of their education, training and certification.”
“With wait times and health care costs at an all-time high, we need to change our health care system to better serve patients,” said Jean Austin, CNP and President of the Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses. “Passing APRN Modernization legislation gives Ohioans a safe, affordable, accessible and high-quality option for their health care needs. The current APRN laws are outdated and limit the care we can provide to patients. This legislation will enhance access for Ohioans, especially in rural settings where there is a lack of health care providers.”
According to a 2015 RAND Health study, removing needless restrictions on APRN practice laws in Ohio could increase access to primary care and reduce emergency department (ED) visits by approximately 70,000 visits a year. These unnecessary and very expensive ED visits for acute health problems – which are not true emergencies – would be better seen in primary care sites, resulting in millions of dollars in savings for the state of Ohio. The study also found that as many as 1.5 million Ohio residents would potentially report better access to care, and within one to two years of removing barriers to practice laws, an estimated 330,000 more Ohioans could receive preventive care visits.
APRNs are formally educated and trained health care professionals with a Masters or Doctorate degree in nursing who can provide preventive care, diagnose and treat illnesses; order and interpret tests; prescribe medications; deliver babies and administer anesthesia.
Additionally, H.B. 216 would allow APRNs to:
- Sign death certificates for their own patients
- Be the attending provider of record for their own admitted patients
- Establish an APRN advisory committee with the Ohio Board of Nursing
- Remove restrictions on sample medications
- Have a consult agreement with pharmacists
H.B. 216 is endorsed and supported by many statewide organizations including the Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses, the Ohio Nurses Association, and many of Ohio’s hospitals and health systems, primary care community health centers and consumer advocacy organizations.