National group targets Kansas physicians
The 2014 Legislative session is just two months away and already legislators are being courted for support on a variety of issues. It has recently come to our attention that the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP)–a conservative national advocacy group focused on economic policy – has decided to support the advanced practice nurses in their bid for independent practice authority.
Members may recall the APRNs introducing a bill last year (HB 2251) which would dissolve the collaborative practice agreement between a physician and an APRN. The bill did not advance and we have been waiting for communication from the APRNs regarding their intentions for 2014.
In recent weeks, AFP has been meeting with legislators expressing their support for the APRN proposal. It is their belief that the current collaborative arrangement between physicians and APRNs represents unnecessary regulation and limits "economic freedom." On that basis alone, AFP is suggesting that Kansas eliminate any and all distinction between the practice of medicine and the practice of nursing.
To protect patient safety, every state in the nation has a law or regulation distinguishing the roles of health care providers; Kansas is–and should be–no different. Our current law reflects that there are differences between medical education and nursing education. At a minimum, physicians complete 12,000 hours of training; APRNs complete a maximum of 720 hours. The collaborative practice arrangement ensures access to health care and balances that with the need for quality care.
AFP's reason for involvement is not clear to us. However, their engagement in the issue is causing a change in the discussion's dynamics. Many newly-elected legislators were supported by AFP in the 2012 election cycle and there has been suggestion that votes on the APRN issue will be considered as part of AFP's legislative scorecard for the coming session.
Please help us by contacting the legislator in your area and express your support for laws and regulations protecting patient safety. You may find your legislators here.