Nurse Practitioners from Across the State Rally at PA Capitol to Support Full Practice Authority
HARRISBURG, PA – May 3, 2023: Nurse practitioners from across the Commonwealth joined together this morning at the PA Capitol in support of Senate Bill 25, a bill that would grant Full Practice Authority to nurse practitioners and end the outdated restrictions that tether them to physicians. The nurse practitioners are represented by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (PCNP), which represents over 16,000 nurse practitioners across Pennsylvania.
At the Capitol today, many nurse practitioners emphasized that following the covid-19 pandemic and in the face of severe healthcare shortages, now is the time to pass Full Practice Authority and end the outdated restrictions they face while caring for patients in Pennsylvania. Senator Camera Bartolotta (R) and Senator Lisa Boscola (D) led the morning’s event as the prime sponsors of Senate Bill 25. The Senators addressed the urgent health care issues facing Pennsylvanians, including the severe worker shortage and the lack of Pennsylvanians who have a primary care provider, urging legislators to pass Senate Bill 25 as a solution to these pressing issues affecting patients across the Commonwealth.
“I’ve heard too many stories from my constituents about patients having to travel long distances – sometimes an hour or more – just to find a doctor accepting new patients,” said Senator Camera Bartolotta, prime sponsor of Senate Bill 25. “The current restrictions placed on our nurse practitioners only limit access and take options away from patients seeking care in Pennsylvania. Senate Bill 25 would lift these outdated restrictions and allow Pennsylvania’s knowledgeable and highly-skilled nurse practitioners to do what they do best – care for patients.”
Currently, nurse practitioners can only care for patients from within a written collaborating agreement with a physician, which prevents nurse practitioners from opening their own practices in communities that lack physicians and urgently need more primary care options.
“We are facing a looming public health crisis, as the primary care gap continues to grow” said Senator Lisa Boscola, prime Democratic sponsor of Senate Bill 25. “This bill is about providing more Pennsylvanians with quality healthcare. Senate Bill 25 would position nurse practitioners to fill that gap, providing patients greater options, increased access, and improved appointment availability across the board.”
PCNP President Cheryl Schlamb, DNP, CRNP emphasized that while the focus of Senate Bill25 is to improve access and provide benefits to patients, legislators also must be aware of the
consequences caused by restrictions in Pennsylvania.
“Each day that Pennsylvania does not offer Full Practice Authority is another day that PA loses urgently-needed healthcare providers,” says PCNP President Schlamb. “Nurse practitioners who study at Pennsylvania’s excellent nursing schools end up fleeing the state after graduating. They discover better opportunities in neighboring states like Maryland, New York, and Delaware, where they can practice with greater independence, open their own clinics, and care for a greater number of patients.”
27 states and the District of Columbia have already granted Full Practice Authority to nurse practitioners, ending the unnecessary administrative burden of restrictions in favor of greater healthcare options for patients. Nurse practitioners in the VA system are also granted Full Practice Authority while serving active military patients and veterans.
“When Pennsylvania temporarily lifted restrictions on nurse practitioners in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we stepped up to the challenge and worked on the front lines as ‘healthcare heroes’ to care for patients across PA,” said PCNP President-Elect Amanda Laskoskie, DNP, CRNP. “Nurse practitioners proved that we can successfully work independently without restrictive collaborating agreements, that we can increase access to care, and that we can treat a greater number of patients when these restrictions are lifted. ”The nurse practitioners who gathered at the PA Capitol today, along with Senate Bill 25’s
bipartisan sponsors and PCNP leaders, are hoping this is finally the year that the PA legislature will pass Full Practice Authority and modernize Pennsylvania’s outdated nursing law.
“If Covid-19 was not a successful ‘pilot test’ where nurse practitioners proved they are ready for Full Practice Authority,” continued Laskoskie, “then I don’t know what is.”