By Carol Davis
New York is the newest state to grant nurse practitioners (NP) full practice authority, joining 24 other states and Washington, D.C.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the state budget into law on Saturday, that includes legislation that eliminates the requirement for NPs to have a written practice agreement with a physician and allows them to provide the full scope of services they are educated and clinically trained to provide.
Granting full practice authority bolsters efforts to reduce healthcare disparities and increase health equity.
“New York has taken a critical step forward in our country, increasing access to vital healthcare services. New Yorkers will now have full and direct access to the comprehensive care NPs provide,” said April N. Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP- BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
“Over the past two years, New York has waived unnecessary and outdated laws limiting access to healthcare. AANP applauds the state legislature and Gov. Hochul for recognizing that these provisions need to continue,” Kapu said. “These changes will help New York attract and retain nurse practitioners and provide New Yorkers better access to quality care.”
Full practice authority authorizes NPs to evaluate patients; diagnose, order and interpret diagnostic tests; initiate and manage treatments; and prescribe medications, all under the exclusive licensure authority of the state board of nursing.
This framework eliminates “unnecessary, outdated regulatory barriers” that prevent patients from accessing these vital care services directly from NPs, according to AANP.
Support for full practice authority continues to grow. The National Academy of Medicine‘s The Future of Nursing 2020-2030 report recommends that nurses be allowed to “practice to the full extent of their education and training by removing barriers that prevent them from more fully addressing social needs and social determinants of health and improving healthcare access, quality, and value.”
New York joins an increasing number of states acting to “retire outdated laws that have needlessly constrained their health care workforce and limited patient access to care,” said Jon Fanning, MS, CAE, CNED, chief executive officer of AANP.
“This is a no-cost, no-delay solution to strengthening health care for the nation. Decades of research show that states with full practice authority are better positioned to improve access to care, grow their workforce, and address healthcare disparities, while delivering quality health outcomes for patients. We look forward to more states following suit.”
The American Medical Association and other physician groups, however, argue collaborations are needed for patient safety.
Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.