Measures have been introduced in the Missouri legislature that will reduce barriers to practice for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), according to the Missouri Nurses Association (MONA), a constituent/state nurses association member of the American Nurses Association (ANA).
The legislation, HB1371 and SB 679, is consistent with the Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, recommendation that nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training. It will allow Missouri’s nearly six million citizens to have accessible, high-quality health care provided by certified nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, and certified clinical nurse specialists.
The state of Missouri is rated in the bottom six in access to care by the Pearson Report and is rated 50 out of 51 according to the Ranking State NP Regulation: Practice Environment and Consumer Healthcare Choice Report. Current Missouri laws are hampering the ability of APRNs to contribute to innovative health care delivery solutions.
The recent Joplin tornado exposed the consequences of these barriers. APRNs beyond 50 miles of Joplin were not able to come and provide emergent care. The barriers of retrospective chart reviews, geographical distances, collaborative practice agreements, restrictions on prescribing needed pain medications, and a wide variety of other barriers have significant costs to the health care system and are often referred to as the hidden health care tax.
The Missouri legislature is to be commended on its attempts to reduce these barriers and increase access, availability, and utilization of the high quality, safe and cost effective care provided by APRNs. For more information and other MONA efforts on this issue, go to http://www.missourinurses.org.