Letter: Advanced nurses can handle more

Thomas E. Kimble

Decades of evidence have clearly demonstrated that Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) provide high quality health care to consumers. AARP Michigan strongly supports Senate Bill 2, which would allow APRNs in Michigan to use the full scope of their training and education to treat patients and to increase consumers’ access to care — particularly in underserved urban and rural areas.

This is not simply a doctors vs. nurses issue as some have portrayed. It’s about quality health care access for everyone and efficient use of resources.

The bill — which has passed the Senate and is in the House Health Policy Committee — would allow Michigan APRNs to continue to write prescriptions, assess and diagnose a person’s ailments, and refer their patients to specialists as they typically do now.

Additionally, the bill would allow certain specifically qualified nurses to write prescriptions without the Delegation of Prescriptive Authority Agreement that is currently required by Board of Medicine administrative rules to be reviewed annually by a collaborating physician.

The high quality of care provided by APRNs is evident whether or not they are subject to a restrictive collaborative agreement with physicians. Currently, APRNs successfully prescribe medications without physician oversight in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

AARP supports Senate Bill 2 as a way to increase consumers’ access to care, particularly in rural and urban underserved areas where there is a lack of available physicians with whom nurses can enter into prescriptive agreements. This legislation will help fill the need for the primary and preventative care shortage that exists in Michigan.

APRNs are master’s/doctorate-prepared health care providers and not using them to their full ability is a waste of resources for Michigan citizens.

We urge the Legislature to pass Senate Bill 2.

Thomas E. Kimble, state president,

AARP Michigan