Regarding Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1063, sponsored by state Sen. Patricia H. Vance, R-Cumberland County: This bill will give nurse practitioners the freedom to practice fully within the scope of their practice. The bill also allows for NPs to receive full reimbursement from insurance companies for their services provided. It allows their reimbursement to move from 85 percent to 100 percent for the care provided. If an NP does the same services a physician does, then he or she should be equally reimbursed for them.
SB 1063 will allow nurse practitioners to move from a certification to a license. It will allow NPs to fill in the gaps left by the 5,000 primary care physicians set to retire in Pennsylvania within the next five years and help provide care for the estimated 550,000 state residents eligible for health care coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act, according to the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (2013).
Patients looking to see a health care provider are often told that a doctor isn’t taking new patients, or that they have to wait weeks for an appointment. There simply aren’t enough doctors. With 8,000 nurse practitioners in Pennsylvania, the coalition says we can increase access to care.
Nineteen other states and the District of Columbia have full autonomy for their NPs; it’s time for Pennsylvania to get with the times.
The writer is a student in the nurse practitioner master’s degree program at Carlow University.