Across the state of Maryland, nurse practitioners are celebrating an important victory. On Tuesday, May 12th 2015, Governor Larry Hogan signed into law House Bill (999/SB 723) which authorizes full practice authority to licensed nurse practitioners. This important legislation will fill a critical gap in service for thousands of residents in our state.
While nurse practitioners hold advanced levels of education and are independently licensed to practice, many states require nurse practitioners to obtain a collaborative practice agreement with a licensed physician before he or she ever sees a patient. A collaborative practice agreement is basically a written agreement between two professionals (the doctor and the nurse practitioner) that describes a specific plan, arrangement, or sequence of orders, steps, or procedures to be followed or carried out in providing patient care in various clinical situations. In simpler terms: it is an agreement between the nurse practitioner and a physician about how the nurse practitioner will care for patients on the day to day level. Depending upon the terms of the agreement, the nurse practitioner can either practice at their full level of education (and be able to offer a wide range of services to his/her patients) or be severely restricted and in need of a doctor’s signature or approval for even the most basic aspects of care.
What does this mean to you?
With full practice authority now signed into law, this will mean that thousands of patients across our state will be able to access the important medical care that they need; care for conditions like diabetes, hypertension and early prenatal care. Nurse practitioners who are anxious to serve in rural areas such as the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where the number of available primary care physicians is dwindling, will no longer be required to seek out an available physician willing to sign a collaborative practice agreement or attestation before being able to provide these kinds of essential services. In densely populated urban areas like Baltimore City, where primary care physicians are overwhelmed by the sheer number of patients with chronic conditions needing to be cared for, nurse practitioners will be able to roll up their sleeves even further to offer the services they’re fully capable of providing. In fact, according to the Institute of Medicine and leading authorities on health care reform, the removal of barriers to nurse practitioners is a critical first step to improving our nation’s health.
At Seva Health, we recognize this to be a huge achievement for our state. We are grateful to all of our professional colleagues who worked tirelessly to get this bill approved and we remain committed to providing exceptional house calls because we know that good health begins at home. We stand by our belief that healthier people build healthier communities. Healthier communities lead to stronger societies. And stronger societies lead to a world that is better to live in. We make the good old fashioned house call not just because it’s simpler, but because we know it’s better.
You can read more about Maryland’s important new legislation for nurse practitioners here:
To learn more about the role of a nurse practitioner, click here:
To understand the Institute of Medicine Report on Removing Barriers to Nurse Practitioner Care, click here:
To find out what’s happening in your state regarding access to nurse practitioners, click here: