Provide Rural Georgians More Health Care
Milestones are quietly being reached by Advanced Practice Registered Nurses every day, with little to no recognition. Consumer health and safety are at the core of all healthcare professions, including Georgia’s APRNs. Partners in Health Management are standing behind SB 351, which will revise and modernize nursing regulations. This bill will alleviate mandatory physician supervision and collaborative practice agreement requirements. We have patiently watched half of our nation correct their restrictive APRN practice laws with only positively reflected outcomes. This progression implemented in Georgia would directly contribute to our nation’s strategy to efficiently provide an increased quality of health care, provide more access to health care services, and lower health care rates.
With one of highest nursing shortages in the nation, there is no denying that Georgia needs a solution to the rural health crisis. Research suggests that nurse practitioners can offer quality primary care that mirrors the services of a physician. Currently, Georgia’s APRNs are limited on what they can do without the permission of a physician. This bill gives APRNs the ability to become licensed as an independent practitioner. In other words, APRNs will be able to order tests, prescribe and administer medication without making the patient wait for a medical doctor to sign off on the order. There are no studies that have raised concern of competence offered by nurse practitioners. Why not utilize the growing number of trained, educated, and able APRNs when there are whole counties in Georgia deprived of physicians, pediatricians, OB/GYNs, and internal medical physicians? National workforce data indicated that the likeliness of APRNs to work in rural communities are double that of physician’s. Limiting already limited resources, impairs those who need it the most.
Does this mean we are kicking physicians to the curb? Absolutely not! APRN’s want to work side by side and give patients the ability to have options, not only when it comes to cost of health care, but the choice to choose quality health care. These changes do imply the petrifying term, “competition”. Stay calm, the effects of competition are beneficial and act as a motivator for both practices to provide better health and medical services, in addition to lowering the high-costs of health care.
With the technology and additional education courses on their side, APRN’s are highly trained, and are ready to serve these rural areas. The mission at our practice is to provide quality primary care through patient-focused education to achieve optimum health status. SB 351 gives nurse practitioners the general freedom to equip patients with the tools to achieve these results.