I am writing in regards to the recent report of 40 U.S. veterans who died waiting for access to care and appointments in Phoenix, Ariz. This should be very worrisome to our country, because if we do not have enough primary care providers to see our veterans in a timely fashion, what is going to happen when 30 million more Americans enter the health care system because of the Affordable Care Act? You can bet that the two-to-four week wait to see a provider is going turn into something more like two-to-four months.
Recently, state Senate Bill 1063 has gone to committee. The passage of this bill will give nurse practitioners full practice authority. This bill will by no means increase the scope of practice of the advanced practice nurse, but it will remove the barriers for the nurse practitioners to care for their patients and allow for direct access to the health care services that nurse practitioners are prepared and educated to provide.
For example, with the current law in place, nurse practitioners can assess, diagnose, prescribe and treat their patients, but cannot order diabetic shoes, wheelchairs and adult diapers without the signature of a physician. The law needs to do away with these ridiculous barriers that limit the care a nurse practitioner can provide within his or her scope of practice.
Nearly one-third of all the states in this county have comparable legislation. It is paramount that Pennsylvania passes this bill prior to health care reform being fully implemented.
Amy L. Miller