Texans for Healthcare Access

Allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to care for Texans.

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 The Issue

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 432 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.

The Problem

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 22 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 Solution

The Coalition for Health Care Access 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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Of the 254 counties in Texas, 185 do not have a single practicing psychiatrist. Texas is 47th in the nation in mental health care access and coverage. Much like primary care advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), psychiatric APRNs are often called upon to meet the gap left in rural and underserved areas throughout Texas. HB 1415/SB 681, introduced by Texas Representative Klick and Senator Hancock, would allow APRNs to practice to the full extent of their training and education—without being held to outdated, costly, and oftentimes unfair delegation agreements with physicians. Kate (who asked to remain anonymous for this interview to protect her privacy) is a board-certified Family Psyc

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