Updates on Nurse Autonomy

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Updates on Nurse Autonomy

Supreme Court decision and new federal legislation are two important steps forward

By Working Nurse
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There have been some important developments in the ongoing battle for APRN autonomy, including a proposed federal law and a significant Supreme Court decision.

Home Health Act

In February, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced S.578, the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2015. This bill would address an oddity in existing Medicare law by allowing nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse-midwives and physician assistants to certify or recertify Medicare patients for home healthcare benefits.

A companion bill, H.R. 1342, was introduced in the House in March. Supporters say the proposed law would reduce inconvenience to patients and families and help to limit the need for patients to remain in costly institutional care.

Supreme Court Ruling

In February, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a dental regulatory board in North Carolina, comprising primarily dentists, did not have the authority to limit the activities of dental hygienists providing teeth-whitening services.

The decision upheld an earlier ruling by the Federal Trade Commission that licensing boards are not exempt from anti-trust laws. The FTC had ruled that the dental board’s effort to restrict the hygienists’ practice constituted an attempt to limit competition.

The ruling is likely to set an important legal precedent for APRNs in other states seeking to challenge comparable restrictions that hinder patient’s access to care and increase costs.

AANP Agrees

Professional organizations are already taking notice: Last year, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) filed an amicus brief in support of the FTC ruling.

“Many health providers, including nurse practitioners, understand firsthand that state regulatory boards have the capacity to pose practice restrictions that do not reflect the best interests of the public,” says AANP CEO David Hebert, J.D.   

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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