AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) today commends Governor Daugaard and the South Dakota Legislature for enacting into law Senate Bill 61, which provides patients with full and direct access to nurse practitioners. By adopting the law, South Dakota becomes the 22nd state to authorize nurse practitioners to provide the full scope of services they're educated and clinically prepared to deliver, and it retires the Board of Medicine oversight of nursing practice. These changes will significantly enhance patient access to high-quality health care.
"This is an important win for patients across the state. We are pleased that the state legislature and Governor Daugaard recognize the critical role of nurse practitioners in advancing the health of our citizens and the importance of attracting and retaining these high-quality providers in South Dakota," said AANP South Dakota Representative Robin Arends, DNP, CNP, FNP-BC.
Signed into law today, the new South Dakota measure retires the requirement that nurse practitioners maintain career-long "collaborative agreements" with physicians as a condition of nurse practitioner practice and retires joint Board of Nursing and Board of Medicine oversight, mandates that had created obstacles and delayed patient care. In addition to improving access to care, these regulatory changes are estimated to save the state more than $71,000 annually in regulatory costs.
"South Dakotans are poised to benefit from a 21st century health care delivery model that has been proven to increase access, improve outcomes and control costs," said Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, President of AANP. "We are pleased that South Dakota has retired needless regulation and acted on national recommendations that prioritize the health care needs of patients."
Leading policy groups like the Institute of Medicine have long recommended that states adopt such legislation to improve health care access and outcomes. They cite extensive data showing nurse practitioners, including those with full-practice authority, have safety and quality outcomes that are similar to those of physicians and also offer patients a much-needed approach that is highly focused on health promotion and disease prevention.
Other states with Full Practice Authority legislation under consideration in state legislatures include Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Arkansas, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of more than 222,000 NPs, including more than 73,000 individual members and 200 organizations, providing a unified networking platform and advocating for their role as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered and personalized health care. The organization provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers. For more information, visit aanp.org. To locate a nurse practitioner in your area, visit npfinder.com.
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SOURCE American Association of Nurse Practitioners