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New APRN independent practice bill introduced

On August 29, State Representative Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) introduced legislation, House Bill (HB) 726, to allow advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to practice independently in Ohio. APRNs can diagnose and treat diseases and can prescribe medications. APRNs must enter mandatory collaboration agreements with physicians under current Ohio law.

Rep. Gavarone’s calls HB 726 the “Better Access, Better Care Act.” Her press release stated, in part:

The reality is that Ohio has one of the oldest physician populations—sixth—in the country and ranks near the middle or worse in retaining new physicians who have completed their education in the state. Enacting the ‘Better Access, Better Care Act’ is one step we should take to ensure that the physician shortage doesn’t diminish access and quality of health care services to Ohioans.”

Through fact checking, it was determined that there was a misunderstanding of the data and Ohio is 6th in the country in terms of the youngest physicians, not the oldest.

Many of you will recall this issue from the last General Assembly. In 2016, after 18 months of working with elected officials and the nurses, the bill that was ultimately passed made amenable modifications to the APRN scope of practice, but did NOT include independent practice authority. We achieved that victory because together, we successfully advocated for the physician-led, team-based approach to care. Just 18 months later, the same issue is back and seeks to fundamentally change how physicians and APRNs work together safely and effectively.

We urge you to send a letter to your elected officials to urge them not to support this legislation. They need to understand that physicians and APRNs are not interchangeable, and that Ohio physicians will not stand for this unnecessary and unsafe change to APRN scope of practice!
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