Statesman Op-ed Says APRNs Could Help Fill Provider Shortages
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are masters or doctorate level health care providers who are subject to specific occupational licensing barriers which limit access to care for patients and drive up the cost of health care in Texas.
Texas has a critical shortage of primary care providers, with 437 Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in urban, suburban, and rural areas across the state. APRNs are quality, cost-effective providers who can help address this shortage if Texas passes legislation to remove barriers standing in the way of APRNs and their patients.
To practice in Texas, APRNs are required to enter into a contract, or what’s called a “delegation agreement,” with a physician. In many cases, the delegation is simply a physician's signature that says the APRN can practice. Some APRNs actually have to pay thousands of dollars a year for this agreement.
More states are opting to cut the red tape, eliminate delegation agreements, and give patients full and direct access to the quality care APRNs provide. Currently 26 states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs do not require these agreements. Meanwhile, lawmakers in New Mexico and Arizona are recruiting Texas-trained APRNs to their states, where APRNs face fewer regulatory burdens and lower practice costs.
The Texans for Healthcare Access Coalition urges all Texas legislators to join us in supporting legislation, which will keep more APRNs in Texas and remove the requirement for unnecessary, expensive, and many times unfair pay-to-play delegation agreements between APRNs and physicians. This is zero-risk, zero-cost solution that will put patients first, and ensure that more Texans can access the vital care they need.
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