(November 2, 2015) The key to better health outcomes as well as cost containment in the health care system is coordinated care provided by a team of health care professionals who work in collaboration. Every member of the team plays a critical role. Nurses, therapists, pharmacists, dieticians and others each do their part in a team led by a physician. The process is efficient and effective. It ensures the patient receives coordinated care while minimizing fragmented or unnecessary treatment and protecting patient safety.
New legislation in the Ohio General Assembly threatens this process. House Bill 216 substantially revises the scope of practice for advance practice nurses (APNs), allowing them to essentially break from the team-based model and practice independently, with no requirement for physician collaboration.
The OOA has joined other state physician organizations to launch a campaign to educate legislators and the general public about the dangers of HB 216 and how it will undermine team-based care and endanger patients.
OOA President-Elect Geraldine N. Urse, DO, who trained and practiced as a nurse anesthetist before entering medical school, was interviewed by The Columbus Dispatch. After the article appeared on the front page of the paper, October 26, Urse wrote a letter to the editor stating, “I do not undervalue the work of nurses, nurse practitioners, or nurse anesthetists. They all play an important role as a part of the medical care team. It’s work I did and work I understand. I also understand that having an experienced residency-trained physician directing the work of a solid team is the safest for everyone, especially the patient. House Bill 216 is ill advised.”
Although the physician organizations are open to many of the proposed changes in the bill, the group is strongly opposed to allowing APNs to practice independently without a formal standard care agreement with a physician or allowing APNS or CRNAs to independently prescribe Schedule II drugs.