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Texans for Healthcare Access Applauds New Law Modernizing Nurse Practitioner and Physician Meetings

Texans for Healthcare Access today applauded Texas lawmakers for passing HB 278 by Rep. Tom Oliverson, MD, which allows nurse practitioners and their delegating physician to use technology for required monthly meetings, removing an outdated mandate that they meet in person. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott and takes effect Sept. 1, 2019.

“Texas currently allows health care providers such as physicians and nurse practitioners to diagnose and treat patients via telehealth by taking advantage of the tremendous efficiencies offered by the internet and other current real-time technologies,” said Robert Metzger, President of Texas Nurse Practitioners. “We applaud lawmakers for passing, and Gov. Abbott for signing into law, this common-sense bill that will allow nurse practitioners and physicians to fulfill the monthly meeting requirement using the same technology.”

Under Texas law, nurse practitioners are required to enter into delegation agreements with physicians in order to practice. As there is no requirement that the delegating physician live or work in the same community as the nurse practitioner, the requirement that they meet face-to-face at least once per month often results in significant time and travel demands for both the nurse practitioner and the physician, particularly for those serving the most rural communities in Texas.

Sen. Charles Perry carried the companion bill, SB 311, in the Senate.

“Our first priority as health care providers is to spend time caring for patients; allowing for the use of current technology to comply with the monthly-meeting requirement frees up time for nurse practitioners and physicians to do just that,” said Metzger.

“Given the need to bring quality health care to more Texans, it’s important to cut the red tape that prevents nurse practitioners from practicing to the full extent of their education and training,” said AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson. “We sincerely thank Representative Oliverson, Senator Perry, and everyone else who worked to pass House Bill 278.”

Texans for Health Care Access is a coalition comprised of a growing number of highly diverse organizations representing consumers, business, and a broad range of health care stakeholders. These groups have joined forces to remove unnecessary barriers to care and allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to better serve their patients. Learn more here.

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