NGA Releases Paper on Nurse Practitioners and their Role in Primary Care
Monday, January 28, 2013
by: VNAA Policy Team

Section: Public Policy and Advocacy

In December, the National Governors Association (NGA) released a paper, The Role of Nurse Practitioners in Meeting Increasing Demand for Primary Care, which discusses how various states regulate the role of nurse practitioners (NP) and the impact of such regulations on access to primary care. State governments have the potential to increase access to primary care by easing scope of practice restrictions for NPs and modifying reimbursement policies to increase their role in providing primary care.

The paper reviews state laws and regulations as well as scholarly literature on NP practice to examine:
  • How scope of practice rules, licensure and other conditional requirements vary with a detailed chart of state-by-state differences;
  • How states’ requirements  deviate from evidence-based research of NP expertise and capabilities; and
  • How changes to state requirements can impact access to health care and its quality.
The literature review found there are no concerns about the quality of care offered by NPs and most of the studies found that NP provided care was comparable to physician-provided care on many outcome and process measures. The studies also suggested that NPs may provide improved access to care. One study found NPs were more likely to serve underserved urban populations and rural areas. A national survey found that about 18 percent of NP respondents practiced in rural areas.

VNAA has strongly supported efforts to expand and enhance the role of NPs, working with other national organizations to promote legislation. In addition, VNAA honored Representative Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), author of legislation that would allow NPs and other practitioners to sign off on home health plans of care and face-to-face documentation, at the 2012 Public Policy Leadership Conference.

To read the full nurse practitioner report, please visit the NGA Website.
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