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OK nurse practitioners visit Capitol to advocate for solutions to primary care shortage

(Source AONP) (Source AONP)
(Source AONP) (Source AONP)

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK– The Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners and dozens of nurse practitioners visited the Oklahoma state Capitol to speak to legislators about the role they can play in expanding access to primary health care for all Oklahomans.

“Oklahoma faces a crisis in health care access, and it’s particularly acute in rural areas,” said Toni Pratt-Reid, president of AONP. “Passing House Bill 1013 would allow more nurse practitioners to work in Oklahoma and improve the health and well-being of Oklahomans across the state. Too many Oklahomans are driving long distances and waiting days or weeks for an appointment to receive the care they need.”

The nurse practitioners rallied in support of House Bill 1013, which grants full practice authority to nurse practitioners and advanced practice registered nurses, allowing them to provide health care services consistent with their education and training without a so-called collaborative agreement with a physician.

“The role of the advanced practice nurse is important,” Overall said. “You are a leader and an advocate in seeing that Oklahomans get the care that they need.”

The House Business, Commerce & Tourism Committee passed the bill last week and it’s currently awaiting a hearing by the full House of Representatives.

“It’s important for nurse practitioners to be advocates not just fore their profession, but for their patients and the health of all Oklahomans,” said Kristi Sager, a nurse practitioner who owns a clinic in Broken Arrow. “HB 1013 will improve access to health care for Oklahomans across the state.”

According to the most recent Oklahoma Health Workforce Databook compiled by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 64 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties are designated as primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). With 80.2 physicians for every 100,000 Oklahomans, the state ranks 49th in the country in physician-to-patient ratio.

“This bill doesn’t change the scope of practice for nurse practitioners,” Pratt-Reid said. “Nurse practitioners are already doing this work in communities across Oklahoma every day. This bill will allow more nurse practitioners to put their education to use caring for patients and improving the health of their fellow Oklahomans.”

Information provided by AONP. 

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