Date: May 19, 2016
Pennsylvania Medical Society
For Immediate Release
The following is a statement from Scott Shapiro, MD,
president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) and a practicing
physician in Montgomery County. He reacts to the Pennsylvania Senate Consumer
Protection & Professional Licensure Committee approving SB 717. This bill
would allow nurse practitioners to practice without a collaborative agreement
with a physician.
Earlier today, the Senate Consumer Protection &
Professional Licensure Committee, chaired by Sen. Robert Tomlinson (R-Bucks),
took action on SB 717, a bill that would allow nurse practitioners to throw
away collaborative agreements and practice independently of physician oversight.
Although the measure ultimately won committee approval, PAMED applauds Sen.
John Gordner (R-Columbia), a member of the Senate Republican Leadership team,
for voting against the proposal.
The Pennsylvania Medical Society is deeply disappointed in
the Committee’s action. By eliminating the collaborative ties that exist
between nurse practitioners and physicians, SB 717 removes an important
safeguard in patient care and fragments the health care team.
Patient care is best when a team of health care professionals
with complementary—not interchangeable—skills work together. With the
complexity of our health care system ever increasing, patients need both physicians
and nurses, coordinating care and sharing information for the benefit of the patient.
Nurse practitioners have less training and education than
physicians, but when physician expertise and leadership is combined with the
care of a skilled nurse practitioner, patient care is better. Nothing in
current law keeps a nurse practitioner from exercising his or her professional
judgement to the fullest extent of their training. Collaboration with a
physician as a parameter of practice is not a burden, but rather an assurance
of greater expertise immediately available in the care of patients.
SB 717 devalues the importance of the health care team. Let’s
not destroy team-based medical care and instead promote existing law that
allows both physicians and nurse practitioners to exercise the full range of
medical knowledge available at the moment it is needed.
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The Pennsylvania Medical Society was founded in 1848. To
learn more about PAMED, visit its web site at www.pamedsoc.org or follow on Twitter @PAMEDSociety. Members of the media are encouraged to
follow Chuck Moran on Twitter @ChuckMoran7.