The Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses (OAAPN) applauds Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Mt. Lookout) on the introduction of Substitute House Bill 177 (Sub. H.B. 177), the Better Access, Better Care Act. This legislation aims to retire Ohio’s outdated regulatory structure and join with 28 other states that have already modernized their laws to expand access to care. Under Ohio law, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) must have a contract known as a Standard Care Arrangement (SCA) with a physician in order to practice. Far from professional collaboration, this contract requires APRNs to submit a subset of their patient charts to a physician for review and pay them a fee as a condition of practice. With Ohio facing a physician shortage, especially in rural areas, this outdated regulation prevents patients from full and direct access to APRN care where and when they need it most. Sub HB 177 will allow an APRN who has completed 2,000 clinical hours, to opt-out of signing an SCA.
“We applaud Rep. Brinkman’s commitment to increasing access to health care in communities across Ohio. Today, nearly 1.5 million Ohioans lack necessary access to vital primary care services. In fact, the federal government has designated 159 health professional shortage areas across the state, where just 55% of patient need is met,” said Joscelyn Greaves, president of the Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses.
There are over 17,000 advanced practice registered nurses licensed to practice in Ohio including nurse practitioners (NP), certified nurse specialists (CNS), and certified nurse midwives (CNM). APRNs are licensed clinicians who have completed post-graduate education (master’s or doctorate degree). They have in-depth knowledge, accumulated skills and clinical training and experience. They diagnose illness, treat patients, order tests, prescribe medicines, deliver babies and do this in both primary and specialty care settings.
In addition to OAAPN, supporters of Sub. H.B. 177 include: AARP, AARP Ohio, Americans for Prosperity Ohio, Mercy Health, Ohio Council for Home care and Hospice, Ohio Area Agencies on Aging, Ohio Health Care Association, Charitable Healthcare Network, American College of Nurse Midwives, Ohio Nurses Association, Northeast Ohio Nurse Practitioners, Emergency Nurses Association, Ohio State Association of Nurse Anesthetists, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Northeast Ohio Clinical Nurse Specialists, and the Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-neck Nurses.
“We look forward to working with the Ohio Legislature to pass Sub. H.B. 177 and ensure that Ohioans receive access to the care they need and deserve,” said Greaves. “The current law limits the health care Ohio APRNs can provide while undermining needed access to high-quality, accessible care statewide. Ohio can and must do better.”