From KMS Executive Director Rachelle Colombo
As we reported last week, the legislature will return May 3 for a brief wrap-up session to complete work on bills awaiting final action, including legislation authorizing the independent practice of medicine and surgery by APRNs.
In recent weeks, legislators have been receiving hundreds of emails in support of the APRN issue in a statewide advocacy campaign conducted by Americans for Prosperity and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. These business groups contend that physician-directed collaborative practice agreements are nothing more than unnecessary “permission slips,” which create access to care problems depriving Kansans of basic health care, particularly in rural and marginalized communities. Although no new APRN bill has surfaced yet, we expect one will be introduced as soon as the legislature returns.
If you have not already done so, we urge you and your partners to contact your legislators next week and express your opposition to the independent practice of medicine by APRNs. To find contact information for your representative and senator in the legislature, enter your address on this site: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator
Our belief is that the practice of medicine is distinct from the practice of advanced practice nursing, which should be defined and appropriately limited in statute and regulated by the Board of Healing Arts to ensure patient safety. APRNs should not be allowed to perform services and acts that constitute the practice medicine and surgery independently or without appropriate physician supervision, oversight, or delegation. In the case of APRNs specifically, we believe APRNs who desire independent practice without a collaborative practice agreement with a physician must also be licensed by the Board of Healing Arts, and their scope of practice defined as it relates to the performance of services or acts which constitute the practice of medicine, including prescribing, the ordering and performance of tests, treatments, and other medical procedures, particularly invasive services or surgery.
As always, it is best to keep your communication brief, respectful, and concise. Legislators are hearing from APRNs and others every day and have been for many months. They need to hear from the physician community about our strong opposition to this measure and our willingness to appropriately address APRNs’ desire to independently engage in the practice of nursing—but NOT medicine.
If you have questions about these or any other legislative matters, please contact me for more information.