Last Updated: Apr 9, 2019
The following is a statement from Danae Powers, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED):
Senate Bill 25 was introduced by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) to allow certified registered nurse practitioners (CRNPs) to practice medicine without a collaborative agreement with a physician. A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the House.
The Pennsylvania Medical Society is again deeply disappointed by these bills.
Though well intentioned, they fail to recognize the important role that physicians play as leaders of health care delivery teams and ignore the benefits of medical school education and training. While CRNPs play a critical role, they are by no means interchangeable with physicians.
In the past, proponents of this legislation have claimed it will increase access to care in rural and underserved communities. However, states that have independently practicing CRNPs (largely western states) continue to struggle with access issues.
Furthermore, nothing in current Pennsylvania law keeps a nurse practitioner from establishing a rural independent practice today. CRNPs are free to diagnose, establish treatment plans, order diagnostic imaging studies and other tests, and prescribe almost all of the same medications that physicians prescribe.
A collaborative agreement with a physician is not a burden, but an assurance that deeper medical expertise is immediately available in the care of patients.
The Pennsylvania Medical Society recognizes the need to improve access to care. However, legislating medical degrees to nurses will neither improve patient care nor expand access to care in Pennsylvania.
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The Pennsylvania Medical Society helps its 20,000 physician and medical student members return to the art of medicine through advocacy and education. Learn more by visiting www.pamedsoc.org or by following us on Twitter at @PAMEDSociety.