Virginia patients face major changes and challenges today and in the coming years. Thankfully, nurse practitioners are ready, willing, able – and nationally certified – to expand access to health care statewide.
Elected officials have the opportunity to ensure more people can access quality care by modernizing state law and allowing these highly-trained professionals to serve patients to their fullest potential. Our proposed legislation, Virginia HB 793, would institute a Transition to Practice period for NPs, an important step towards achieving Full Practice Authority. Here’s why it's important to support lowering barriers to practice in Virginia:
Patients come first. Nurse practitioners provide high-quality care to every patient. Over the past 40 years, every major study on NP care – over 100 – have shown that nurse practitioners’ patient health outcomes meet or exceed the results from other providers. This is because NPs choose a population focus earlier in their education. Their philosophy guides NPs to take a holistic approach. They look at and listen to the entire patient.
People of Virginia need more primary care. The shortage of primary care providers already impacts Virginia residents – in both underserved rural and urban areas. More than 80% of all NPs are certified to provide primary care. We must act quickly to ensure the people of Virginia can depend on access to quality health care in the years to come.
Nurse practitioners serve rural communities. Current regulations limit access to care for rural Virginia. Nurse practitioners are twice as likely as physicians to serve in rural communities, and NPs in states with full practice authority are more likely to practice in rural areas compared to states without it.
It saves money. Outdated regulations put red tape between nurse practitioners and patients. Free market advocates support full practice authority for nurse practitioners because increased competition in health care is good for both patients and consumers. Unlike other proposals to expand access to care, full practice authority will not cost taxpayers a dime.
Experience and experts agree. 22 states and Washington, D.C. have already adopted full practice authority. The Institute of Medicine, AARP, the National Governor’s Association, the Federal Trade Commission, and the National Conference of State Legislatures have all endorsed the policy.
Patient-centered care will remain strong. Patients are most healthy when they can access the health care system easily and affordably. Nurse practitioners are trained to work as part of a health care team. Just as physicians need no mandate to refer patients to a specialist, NPs work with other health care professionals any time it benefits the health of a patient.
Nurse Practitioners care for our Veterans
Veterans need greater access to primary care and mental health services. Proposed legislation would enact full practice authority, allowing Nurse Practitioners (NPs) to expand access to care for veterans.
Nurse Practitioners care for Patients with Medicaid
Nurse practitioners (NPs) are more likely to care for the people who need health care the most. Proposed legislation would use full practice authority to allow NPs to expand access to care for these patients.
Nurse Practitioners care for Rural Virginians
Rural communities currently have roughly half the physicians per capita as non-rural areas. Virginia covers 35,594 square miles, with a 2016 estimated population of 8,411,808 people - with 1,047,235 people living in rural areas.
Nurse Practitioners care for our Seniors
Researchers compared states that have full practice authority to those that do not. They found that Medicare and Medicaid patients experience 50 percent more unnecessary hospitalizations in states like Virginia without full practice authority compared to states that have it.
Free Market Advocates Support Full Practice Authority
Competition in health care is good for patients, consumers and taxpayers because it boosts innovation and quality while lowering costs. Proposed legislation would use the free market to help fix the primary care shortage.