Healthcare Insider Blog

DNPs in Pennsylvania come one step closer to independent practice authority

  • Healthcare Alvernia

This July, for the first time in our state’s history, the Senate passed a bill allowing nurse practitioners in Pennsylvania independent practice authority. Though sadly the bill did not make it through the House of Representatives, nurse practitioners are still one step closer to breaking down the barrier keeping them from the right to practice independently.

As discussed in a previous Healthcare Insider blog, as of now, current Pennsylvania law requires that nurse practitioners work in collaboration with a supervising physician. This not only restricts nurse practitioners from practicing to their full capacity, but it limits the number of health care professionals able to serve patients — a profession in demand since the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the increased population of Americans who now have access to health care.

“By passing Senate Bill 717 our senators have helped bring Pennsylvania significantly closer to accessing the full extent of the education and training that NPs receive,” said PCNP President Lorraine Bock. “Adopting this vital piece of legislation will benefit residents of our state for generations to come.”

The bill passed the Senate 41 to 9, and currently resides in the House Professional Licensure Committee, who has unfortunately not scheduled the bill for a hearing — indicating that it will most likely not progress further this year.

“The plan at this time is to reintroduce the legislation early in the next session,” said   Lori Martin-Plank, PhD, CRNP, FAANP, FNAP, and Pennsylvania State Representative for AANP. “The good news is that the groundwork is already being laid for next year and there is strong coalition support from the Hospital Association of PA (HAP), AARP, and other partners, and the legislative landscape looks favorable for 2017″.

Nurse practitioners are not in this fight alone, with support from coalitions and partners throughout PA, as well as from their patients.

“Patients have been loud and clear about their desire to see this legislation become law. We commend the Senate for their leadership and for serving as advocates on behalf of accessible and affordable quality health care for all residents,” said Bock.

This set back will not keep nurse practitioners across Pennsylvania from continuing to strive for independent practice authority, and from making their voices heard in Harrisburg on PCNP’s annual Lobby Day this spring.

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