SB 915, Senate Companion to Chair Klick’s HB 2029, Will Remove Outdated Mandates on APRNs and Improve Health Care Access and Options for Texas Patients
AUSTIN – Texans for Healthcare Access today applauded Chair Kelly Hancock on the filing of SB 915, the Senate companion to HB 2029 by Chair Stephanie Klick, which will remove unnecessary and outdated mandates that are preventing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) from providing more health care access and options to Texas Patients.
“In Texas, millions of patients live in areas where access to primary health care is difficult to find,” said Jamie Dudensing, CEO of Texas Association of Health Plans. “It is crucial that we outlaw ‘pay to practice’ mandates and join 31 other states that have already done away with these anticompetitive regulations that keep us from recruiting and retaining highly qualified advanced practice nurses. Thank you, Chair Hancock, for filing SB 915 to help ensure we keep good providers in Texas and give Texans more access and more options for health care.”
California and Florida, two of Texas’ biggest competitors for talent and business, are among the 31 states that have done away with the requirement for APRNs to contract with physicians before they can practice. Advanced practice nursing is the only profession in Texas where independently licensed professionals are mandated to contract with a member of another profession in order to go into business.
A 2020 Texas Nurse Practitioners member survey found that more than 50% of nurse practitioners say delegation requirements prevented them from expanding or creating their own practice to care for more patients. Nearly 80% said they would consider practicing telehealth to patients outside of Texas in states that do not have such onerous regulations.
In 2013, Texas lawmakers removed the requirement that APRNs have an on-site supervising physician, yet years later, the state continues to require them to have contracts with physicians before caring for patients. The law does not require APRNs and physicians to work together or to consult on any cases, mandating nothing more than a single phone call once a month. Further, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Gov. Greg Abbott waived the delegation requirements temporarily, underscoring the fact these regulations are preventing APRNs from doing the most they can to provide care to the Texans who need it.
More than 7 million Texans live in primary care shortage areas. Studies have shown that APRNs tend to have a greater proportion of their practices in rural areas and other regions that are designated health professional shortage areas. Currently, more than 80% of nurse practitioners in Texas specialize in primary care.
Texans for Healthcare Access is a coalition of 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 provide more access and more options for Texas patients. Learn more here.