Yesterday, a bill easing restrictions on Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) was slated to be introduced to the Michigan House of Representatives by Ken Yonker (R) from District 72. Michigan suffers from a critical shortage of primary care practitioners, with over 300 federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) covering practically the entire state. Only two states have a greater number of primary care HPSAs – California and Texas. Both California and Texas have significantly larger populations and land mass. What can we infer from this? It’s pretty bad in Michigan. For a map of all HPSAs in the US click here:
A previously introduced bill was rendered practically moot by significant lobby activity by the Michigan State Medical Society. Arguing that allowing APRNs greater autonomy would put patients at risk, the MSMS was able to dilute the provisions of Senate Bill 68 significantly enough to make it resemble their version of what it should say. Knowing that a host of studies, meta-studies, and two Cochrane reviews have demonstrated APRN care to be equal to that of primary care physicians in terms of outcomes, safety, and patient satisfaction, this argument is patently false. APRNs only practice within the scope of their training and licensure, and have many more years of clinical training, ethics education, patient interaction and experience than do Physician Assistants. There is no parallel.
Nurses have to get on board with this effort and ensure that, this time, this legislation is not thrown off-course by powerful lobby interests. We owe it to the citizens of the state of Michigan to enhance our residents’ access to affordable, quality health care. Michigan is one of only about 6 states in the entire USA to continue the highest level of restrictions on APRN practice. Get involved! Say something! Do something! At the very least, contact your Representatives and Senators to support Rep. Ken Yonker’s effort to bring greater health access to Michigan’s medically underserved. Frankly, the situation is downright unethical… Please send a thank you to Rep. Yonker at the very least and tweet your support to @MIHouseGOP.