Pennsylvania Polls Show Strong Support for Collaborative Agreements Between Nurse Practitioners and Physicians

Last Updated: Oct 21, 2019

FOR RELEASE: Oct. 21, 2019
More than seven out of 10 Pennsylvanians who participated in a series of recent polls want to keep collaborative agreements between nurse practitioners and physicians, suggesting current lobbying efforts in Harrisburg to eliminate them are unwarranted.
Harrisburg-based Susquehanna Polling and Research, Inc., interviewed 3,300 registered voters in 11 Pennsylvania counties in September and October. Results undercut arguments from those who support Senate Bill 25, which would eliminate collaborative agreements between nurse practitioners and physicians in Pennsylvania.
Highlights show:
  • A combined 73 percent supported keeping collaborative agreements, while 17 percent would remove them.
  • By a 2:1 margin, those polled said allowing nurse practitioners to practice without physician collaboration will have a negative impact on the quality of care.
  • 90 percent cite physicians as most trusted to deal with chronic illnesses.
See all poll results

“Results reflect a strong level of trust in physicians and a preference to keep physicians and nurse practitioners working together through a collaborative agreement,” said Danae Powers, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED). “Pennsylvanians deserve the best possible care. While nurse practitioners do an excellent job within the team-based care model, poll participants overwhelmingly want access to physicians, especially to address complex medical needs.”
That access could go away with the passage of Senate Bill 25, which cleared the state Senate in June. It is currently in the House Professional Licensure Committee awaiting a vote.
The broad coalition of medical organizations that commissioned Susquehanna Polling and Research to conduct these polls said it chose the following 11 counties because they were home to lawmakers on the House Professional Licensure Committee.
Results varied little from county to county. For example, 70 percent of participants in the most populated county (Allegheny) said they wanted to keep collaborative agreements, compared to 75 percent in the least populated county (Potter).
The coalition supporting this project includes the Pennsylvania Medical Society, Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians, Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association, Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Pediatrics, and Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Physicians.

Learn more about why coalition opposes removing collaborative agreements
Mary Stock Keister, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians, said: “While nurse practitioners are integral to patient care and highly regarded by family physicians, patients are best served by a physician-led, highly coordinated health care team. These results affirm the need for family physicians and CRNPs to work together.”
Gene M. Battistella, DO, president-elect of the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association (POMA), said: “POMA supports the team approach to care with the patient at the center and the physician leading the team. We value the contributions of all members of the health care team, but from the results of this survey, it appears that most of the public in Pennsylvania agrees with us that physicians have the most comprehensive education and training to coordinate and direct their health care.”
Deborah Moss, MD, FAAP, president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Pediatrics (PA-AAP), said: “Patient safety must be the primary objective in making decisions on scope of practice. PA-AAP believes that optimal pediatric care is best rendered by using a team-based approach led by a pediatrician.”
Dr. Larry Ward, MD, MPH FACP, president of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Physicians, said: “Patients with complex problems, multiple diagnoses, or difficult management challenges typically are best served by physicians leading a team of health care professionals. Physicians, highly respect and on a daily basis, rely on the work of professionals like nurse practitioners to efficiently provide direct patient care services within their areas of training and competence.”
The margin of error for each county poll (300 interviews) is +/-5.6 percent.
Jeff Wirick, Pennsylvania Medical Society
(717) 909-2651
About the Pennsylvania Medical Society
The Pennsylvania Medical Society helps its 22,000 physician and medical student members return to the art of medicine through advocacy and education. To learn more, visit or follow us on Twitter at @PAMEDSociety.
About the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians
The Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians and its Foundation supports its members (including nearly 80 percent of Pennsylvania family physicians) through advocacy and education to ensure physician-coordinated, personalized, and comprehensive quality health care for every Pennsylvanian. The Academy and its Foundation are the leading influential resource among family physicians and physicians in training in Pennsylvania; the primary voice on health care issues with state legislative and administrative branches of government, media and professional health organizations; and the leader on health care issues in the community.
About the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association
POMA promotes the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine through communication, community, education and influence. POMA represents more than 8,000 licensed osteopathic physicians, residents/interns and their patients in the Commonwealth. POMA also supports the community of osteopathic medical school students in the three colleges of osteopathic medicine in Pennsylvania – LECOM, LECOM/Seton Hill and PCOM.
About the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Pediatrics
PA-AAP is a 501-c-3 educational organization of approximately 2,300 pediatricians dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of children and the value of pediatric practice. PA-AAP members participate as primary care providers, medical directors, educators, members of state advisory committees, program experts, media spokespeople, and advocates to address issues related to child health. 
About the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Physicians
PA-ACP membership includes 7,400 Pennsylvania physicians practicing general internal medicine and related subspecialties, including cardiology, gastroenterology, nephrology, endocrinology, hematology, rheumatology, neurology, pulmonary disease, oncology, infectious diseases, allergy and immunology, palliative care and geriatrics.

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