HARRISBURG – The Senate took a critical step to improve access to quality healthcare services in rural areas by approving a bill today that would give full practice authority to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46).
Senate Bill 25 would modernize the Professional Nursing Law to permit qualified APRNs to practice in their field of specialty independent of a physician after they fulfill a three-year, 3,600-hour collaboration agreement with a doctor. Current law requires nurse practitioners to practice under a collaboration agreement at all times.
“Pennsylvania is fortunate to have a high number of qualified, experienced nurse practitioners who are fully capable of providing care in underserved areas,” Bartolotta said. “This legislation will allow APRNs to help patients to the fullest extent of their knowledge and training, which will provide a huge benefit to patients.”
Bartolotta noted that APRNs are perfectly suited to help meet the growing demand for health care services, as studies have shown that patients who are treated by APRNs have similar health outcomes to patients who are treated by physicians. Nearly 35 percent of Pennsylvanians live in an area or population group that has inadequate primary care access.
Several statewide and national advocacy organizations have voiced their support for full practice authority for nurse practitioners, including the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the National Academy of Medicine, AARP, the National Governors’ Association, and the Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders.
Twenty-two states and Washington, D.C. have already adopted full practice authority for APRNs. The Senate approved legislation similar to Bartolotta’s bill during the 2015-16 Legislative Session.
CONTACT: Colleen Greer (717) 787-1463