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Amarillo VA Nurse Practitioner First in Texas to Get Full Practice Authority

(AUSTIN) – An Amarillo nurse practitioner with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is the first in Texas to be granted full practice authority.

“Charlene Seale, a certified family nurse practitioner at the Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center in Amarillo, has been granted full practice authority, allowing her to provide a wider range of care to her patients,” according to an article by Lauren Koski in the Amarillo Globe-News (

Texas law currently restricts Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) from practicing to the full extent of their education and training. The Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and 22 other states grant full-practice authority, and states like New Mexico and Arizona are actively recruiting Texas-trained APRNs, where they face fewer regulatory burdens and lower practice costs.

“For the approximately 23,000 veterans served by the Amarillo VA, privileging NPs will also open more slots for veterans to receive care,” Seale told the Globe-News.

APRNs are registered nurses who have a master or doctorate degree in nursing, passed a national certification exam, and achieved advanced licensure in the state. APRNs include nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists. Their education and training enable most to offer primary care and diagnose and prescribe medications in states that allow them to practice nursing to the full extent of their degree and experience.

Twenty percent of Texans lack access to a primary care provider, and Texas was recently listed as 51st in the nation – on access to and affordability of – health care by the Commonwealth Fund. As Texas’s population increases, the growth in new physicians are not keeping up with demand. Medically underserved areas and regions with low-income populations are most negatively impacted by regulations on APRNs. Without access to primary care, patients end up in costly emergency rooms, or with more serious, un-treated illnesses.

A group of 21 diverse organizations representing consumers and business, and a broad range of health care stakeholders support granting APRNs full-practice authority. During the 85th Regular Session, Rep. Stephanie Klick and Sen. Kelly Hancock carried House Bill 1415 and Senate Bill 681, respectively, which would have expanded access to health care by removing outdated and costly regulatory barriers for APRNs.

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The Coalition for Health Care Access is comprised of 21 organizations representing consumers, business, and a broad range of health care stakeholders. Coalition members include AARP, APRN Alliance (Consortium of Texas Certified Nurse-Midwives, Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Texas Clinical Nurse Specialists, Texas Nurse Practitioners, and Texas Nurses Association), Center for Public Policy Priorities, Leading Age Texas, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, National Alliance on Mental Illness Texas, Nursing Legislative Agenda Coalition, Physician Assistant Business Alliance of Texas, R Street Institute, Texas Association of Business, Texas Business Leadership Council, Texas Impact, Texas Organization of Rural Community Hospitals, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Texas Silver Haired Legislature and Veterans Deserve Care. Learn more at Twitter: @Patients1stTX #Patients1stTX

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