Physicians urged to reach out to legislators on APRN issue

Physicians urged to reach out to legislators on APRN issue

Although the Kansas Legislature temporarily adjourned April 9 for a three-week break, several issues that concern physicians continue to be in play until the legislature concludes its remaining business during the upcoming Veto Session and adjourns for the year.

Still alive are efforts to pass some form of APRN independent practice legislation as an amendment to an unrelated bill now working through the process of reconciliation for consideration in the wrap-up session that begins May 3.

“Though our efforts have thus far stopped this issue from advancing before first adjournment, the work is not truly conclusive until the legislature completes its work in the month of May,” wrote Kansas Medical Society Executive Director Rachelle Colombo on the KMS website.

At issue is legislation that would allow advanced practice registered nurses to practice medicine without a defined scope of practice, without physician oversight, and without regulation by the State Board of Healing Arts, a move that MSSC and KMS legislative committee chairman Kevin Hoppock, MD, calls “plain irresponsible.”

“We believe a physician-directed health care team continues to allow expanded access to care without compromising safety or quality,” Hoppock said.

KMS is asking physicians to speak directly with legislators and let them know they oppose the independent practice of medicine by APRNs. (To find your legislators, enter your address at KMS recommends sending them a brief, respectful and concise email expressing your concern and opposition.

“Legislators are hearing from individuals in support of the APRN proposal every day and have been for many months,” Colombo said. “They need to hear from the physician community about our strong opposition to this measure.”

Physician advocates hold that APRNs should not be allowed to perform services and acts that constitute the practice of medicine and surgery independently or without appropriate physician supervision, oversight, or delegation.

“Our belief is that the practice of medicine is distinct from the practice of advanced nursing,” Colombo said. “If granted, the independent practice of nursing should be defined and appropriately limited in statute and regulated by the Board of Healing Arts to ensure patient safety.”

KMS continues working with APRN advocates to address claims around collaborative practice agreements and distinguishing the practice of medicine from the practice of nursing, Colombo said.