PUTTING PATIENTS FIRST
Update as of March 19
On March 19, Governor Lee issued Executive Order 15, which allows APRNs to treat patients impacted by COVID-19 without the restrictive red tape of collaborative practice agreements. This order is in effect until May 18, and demonstrates just how essential removing these unnecessary barriers is for increasing access to care when and where it is needed most. We applaud Governor Lee for issuing this measure that will increase care for Tennesseans as healthcare providers work to slow the spread of COVID-19.
A link to the full order can be accessed here: Executive Order 15
THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS
Thank you to all those who have demonstrated tremendous support for legislation that removes the mandate for a collaborative practice agreement with a physician in order for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to practice and care for Tennesseans.
More information on the status of our proposed legislation can be found in the notice sent to members of the Tennessee Nurses Association.
To help support legislative candidates who support nurses and our patients, please consider making a donation to the TN Nurses PAC.
We will update this site with more information on next steps in the coming weeks and months.
UPDATING THE NURSE PRACTICE ACT
Everyday access to care and options for care are increasingly becoming a great challenge to Tennesseans. We believe the most actionable and impactful solution is to clear the way for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs - nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists) to do what they are educated and trained to do: serve communities and patients.
The only thing that stands in the way is outdated, unnecessary, costly regulation that forces career long physician oversight on APRNs. These burdensome regulations make it prohibitive for APRNs to set up practices to administer the care they are trained to do in areas that are underserved or could benefit from cost effective choice.
That’s why in 2020, the Tennessee Nurses Association and the Coalition for Access to Care for Tennessee has introduced updates to the Nurse Practice Act (SB2110/HB2203), which remove unnecessary and harmful regulations – and create new opportunities to improve access to care across the state.
Why the Need in Tennessee? Why now?
Tennessee is facing a health outcome and access to care crisis.
Since 2010, 163 rural hospitals have closed in the United States according to the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. Tennessee has had 13 hospitals close during this time, the second most of any state. This means that everyday access to care and options for care are becoming a greater challenge to Tennesseans across the state.
These challenges aren’t just with closing hospitals, but include physician supply and capacity to meet the needs of an aging population. By 2032, our country potentially faces a shortage of approximately 122,000 physicians as the over-65 population grows by nearly 50%, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Ranked 44th in health outcomes, the state of Tennessee is one of 11 states with the highest level of restrictions placed on advanced practice registered nurses. The state law requires career-long oversight and delegation or team management by another health provider for the advanced practice registered nurse to provide patient care.
As access to care becomes increasingly difficult, Tennesseans are not getting the care they need to improve their health outcomes. Now is the time to set up proper market conditions to increase access and help Tennesseans.
UNDERSTANDING OUR SOLUTION
As there is no shortage of information that supports the vital need for full practice for APRNs, what follows are tool kits, fact sheets, and talking points you may download to inform your conversations and share with colleagues and your legislators:
FULL PRACTICE ELEVATOR PITCH
CONTACT HEALTH COMMITTEE
WHAT IS FULL PRACTICE AUTHORITY
APRN EDUCATION FACT SHEET
LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY PACKAGE
The following myths are often perpetuated and unfounded. Here, we will address each:
THEY SAY: “IN A TIME WHERE WE NEED MORE MEDICAL COLLABORATION, NOT LESS, THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT ACTION.”
The very charge of a nurse is collaboration. Updating the Nurse Practice Act ends a very costly and prohibitive need for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to pay for a doctor to review charts several weeks after the patient is cared for. Advanced Practice Registered Nurses will continue to consult, refer and work closely with physicians and other healthcare providers based on the needs of their patients.
THEY SAY: “IF NURSES WANTED TO PRACTICE AS A DOCTOR THEY SHOULD GO TO MEDICAL SCHOOL.”
APRNs will practice only what they were effectively taught and trained to do. And they do it very well. All available data supports the fact that nurse practitioners have the professional acumen to match the primary care provided by physicians. Researchers have found that patients of both groups had comparable health outcomes. In fact, nurse practitioners were found to outperform doctors in measures of consultation time, patient follow-up, and patient satisfaction.
THEY SAY: "DOCTORS ARE A NECESSARY PART OF TREATMENT"
No data supports this. In fact the Federal Trade Commission reported the following: "We have not seen research suggesting that the safety or quality of primary care services declines when APRN supervision or collaborative practice requirements are lessened or eliminated."
THEY SAY: "THIS IS TOO RADICAL FOR TENNESSEE"
Tennessee is one of only 12 states with the most restrictive practice environments. And it is 44th in health outcomes. It is more radical to not allow for APRNs to practice more freely to the benefit of Tennesseans.
THIRD PARTY SUPPORT
There is no shortage of validating third party support for removing mandated and outdated regulation of APRNs. These can all be used to speak to the issue and share with your legislators:
The Federal Trade Commission: “We have not seen research suggesting that the safety or quality of primary care services declines when APRN supervision or collaborative practice requirements are lessened or eliminated.”
The National Governor’s Association: “Among the quality of care components that these studies measure are several process measures, among them patient’s satisfaction, time spent with patients, prescribing accuracy, and the provision of preventive education. In each of these categories, Nurse Practitioners provided at least equal quality of care to patients as compared to physicians.”
Institute of Medicine's Future of Nursing Report: “The contention that APRNs are less able than physicians to deliver care that is safe, effective and efficient is not supported by the decades of research that has examined this question.”
American Enterprise Institute: "We have reviewed sizable body of evidence related to whether there was any difference in quality of care when it was provided by APRNs rather than physicians. There is extensive empirical evidence that APRN practice outcomes are at least equivalent to those of physicians to which they are compared. And on some metrics, such as patient satisfaction, some studies have found APRN care is actually better."
The Cato Institute: “When physician groups argue to restrict the scope of practice of nurse practitioners, they argue that a broader scope of practice would threaten patient safety. Yet study after study has shown midlevel clinicians provide a level of quality equal to that of physicians performing the same services.”
NEWS & VIEWS
Your Access to Care TN Resource Center
ACCESS TO CARE TN MEMBERS
Working Towards Better Outcomes for Tennesseans
American Nurse Practitioner Association Regional Representative
American Nurse Practitioner Association – Tennessee Chapter
American Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Association - Tennessee Chapter
Northeast Tennessee Nurse Practitioners Association
Greater Memphis Area Advanced Practice Nurses
Middle Tennessee Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
Music City Chapter of National Academy of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
TN Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives
Tennessee Deans & Directors Council
Tennessee Nurses Association
Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Association
VA Memphis APRN Council
West Tennessee Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses Association