AUSTIN, Texas, May 12, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) praised Governor Larry Hogan and the legislators of Maryland for adopting a new full-practice authority law that allows patients in all areas of the state to directly receive the full scope of services that nurse practitioners are educated and clinically trained to deliver. The law expands patient access to high-quality health care and promotes a wider geographic distribution of the state's health care workforce.
The legislation retires the mandate that Maryland nurse practitioners maintain "attestation agreements" with physicians as a pre-condition of licensure and practice, which had previously discouraged nurse practitioners from practicing in rural and unserved areas of the state, according to AANP.
Governor Hogan signed the bill (HB 999/SB 723) into law on May 12th, making Maryland the 21st full-practice authority state, and the seventh state to right-size regulations affecting nurse practitioner patients in the last four years. The move closely follows actions undertaken in Nebraska, which similarly eased nurse practitioner restrictions in March.
"The legislative leadership we've seen in states like Maryland illustrates how lawmakers are increasingly rallying behind nurse practitioners as essential providers, especially equipped to meet the health care needs of constituents," said AANP president Ken Miller, PhD, RN, CFNP, FAAN, FAANP. "We urge all states considering similar legislation to champion this tried-and-true, no-cost health care solution that is gaining momentum all throughout the nation."
According to AANP, the new law will not only improve access to care and provider choice among patients in Maryland, but also enhance the state's ability to recruit nurse practitioners from its neighbors, which have yet to right-size nurse practitioner laws with the exception of Washington, D.C. Independent research has shown nurse practitioners are more likely to move to and work in states where they can serve patients with full-practice authority, a significant issue as the U.S. contends with rising demand for health services nationwide.
Leading policy groups like the Institute of Medicine have long recommended that states take legislative action similar to Maryland to improve health care access. They cite extensive data showing nurse practitioners, including those with full-practice authority, have outcomes that are equivalent to those of physicians, and also offer patients a much-needed approach that is highly focused on health promotion and disease prevention.
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 205,000 NPs, including more than 61,000 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.
SOURCE American Association of Nurse Practitioners