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Texas Legislature Hears Bill to Remove Barriers to Nurse Practitioners

On Thursday, April 4, the Texas legislature held a public hearing for H.B. 1792 by Representative Stephanie Klick, legislation that would allow nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives to practice without a state-mandated delegation agreement, or physician contact, after working at least 2,080 hours under a physician.

“Texas has never been a place that embraces regulation for regulation’s sake, and H.B. 1792 does away with one of the least-effective and antiquated regulations in the state,” said the Coalition for Healthcare Access, a broad-based coalition supporting H.B. 1792, in their official statement on the hearing. “Not only does this mandate for a physician contract impose unnecessary and restrictive limitations on APRNs, in some cases it is actively preventing these highly-trained, exceptionally-competent professionals from serving areas of the state that are desperate for just the kinds of basic health care APRNs provide."

Lutricia Harrison, a Houston-based family nurse practitioner who owns her own primary care practice, was at the Texas State Capitol Thursday to testify in support of the legislation, as well as representatives of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, AARP-Texas, Center for Public Policy Priorities, Texas Silver-Haired Legislature, and Texas Consortium of Certified Nurse Midwives.

“It [H.B. 1792} will allow nurse practitioners to be able to practice at the full extent of our education and training to be able to see patients quicker, decrease wait times, and also improve health outcomes,” Harrison said in her interview with KXAN News.

"APRNs are well suited to help Texas solve our primary care shortage and like any medical professional, are trained to understand the extent of their training and to know when to consult when they're beyond their training," Klick said during the closing statements of the hearing.

H.B. 1792 was left pending in Committee and awaits further action. There is also a Senate Companion bill, S.B. 2438, which was recently referred to the Senate Business & Commerce Committee.

"We thank the members of the committee, especially Chair Sheffield and Chairwoman Thompson, for hearing the bill and look forward to seeing H.B. 1792 progress," said the Coalition for Healthcare Access.

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