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Pa. bill would let NPs practice without physician supervision

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In part of a growing movement around America to cut costs and widen access to healthcare, the Pennsylvania Senate has introduced legislation to let nurse practitioners practice without the supervision of physicians. Twenty-two states have adopted regulations similar to the proposed bill.

The bill, now before the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, is aimed as easing  the shortage of healthcare providers in rural and other underserved areas of the Keystone State. Physicians opposed to the legislation because, among other things, it would cut into their income, assert that such nurses don’t have the training to provide care on their own.

Under current Pennsylvania law, nurse practitioners must work alongside physicians in practices as part of a collaborative agreement.

The  legislation would let nurse practitioners  provide care independent of a physician after they complete a three-year, 3,600-hour collaboration/training agreement with a physician. The nurse practitioner could practice independently within the clinical specialty area in which they received their license.

Sen. Camera Bartolotta, a Republican who introduced the bill, said that about 35 percent of Pennsylvanians live in areas with inadequate access to primary care.

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