The Arkansas 2015 Legislative Session has Begun!
The Arkanasas Nurse Practitioners Association, the Arkansas Nurses Association, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, along with many other nursing supporters, have been closely monitoring several bills that have been filed during this 2015 legislative session. Many will or could have the potential to affect the practice of nurse practitioners and their communities. Two noteworthy bills under consideration in the House of Representative's Public Health and Welfare committee are: HB 1165 from Representatives Gonzales, which would enable APRNs and PAs to write for Schedules II-V and HB 1160 which will create the CNP medically underserved permit program that will enable NPs to practice fully in several underserved communities in Arkansas. Additionally, SB 78 would eliminate the collaborative agreement for CRNAs.
Bills of concern are HB 1136, which would place nurse practitioners under delegation by the AR Board of Medicine to prescribe hydrocodone containing Schedule II drugs. Additional bills being closely watched are the Graduate Physician Act that would enable physicians to practice without completing a residency program and a telemedicine bill that is not "provider neutral" and does not include reimbursement to nurse practitioners. Several more bills are under review.
Because there are so many important bills that have been introduced and pending, you will want to watch for updates. The Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association will be a resource to help you stay informed.
To reach out now to your legislators, you can locate their contact information here: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2015/2015R/Pages/LegislatorSearchResults.aspx?member=&committee=All&chamber.
Getting to know your legislators and communicating with them has the potential for the Voice of the NP to be clearly heard. Don't hesitate to reach out to your Representatives and Senators today to say hello and offer your expertise in providing information to them about nurse practitioners. Our goal is to help them make wise decisions on behalf of our patients and the nurse practitioners who serve them.
Your friends at the Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association!