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Another state widens NPs’ practice authority


South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, has signed a bill that lets nurse practitioners practice independently after completing 1,040 hours of work under physician supervision.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners reports that South Dakota thus becomes the 22nd state to enact full practice-authority legislation, which lets nurse practitioners provide services without physician supervision.

The organization says the move could save the state $71,000 annually in regulatory costs.

State policymakers are increasingly turning to nurse practitioners and physician assistants to meet the burgeoning demand for primary care.

Healthcare Dive reported: “The  {federal} Health Resources & Services Administration predicted that demand for primary care physicians would grow by 14% over a ten year period from 2010 to 2020. According to these estimates, the healthcare system needs about 241,200 primary care providers to meet that demand. Legislation that lifts restrictions on nurse practitioners could bring that figure down to 6,400.
“There are far more nurse practitioners and physician assistants graduating from training programs than there are primary care physicians. In 2016, there were a total 4,944 medical school graduates matched with primary care residencies. …Meanwhile, 17,900 nurse practitioners graduated from primary care programs in 2015.’’

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