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Election results promising for nurse practitioners

Posted By Administration, Friday, November 9, 2018

The general election foreshadowed good things to come for nurse practitioners across the state. Tuesday saw the election of one nurse practitioner to the legislature, along with a number of other candidates who are supportive of full practice authority.

Cynthia Roe, a nurse practitioner from Lindsay, OK, won her race for House District 42. Because of her support for full practice authority, the Oklahoma State Medical Association spent nearly $8,000 against her in the closing days of the race. The anesthesiologists’ political action committee donated $2,000 to her opponent in the course of the campaign.

AONP volunteers knocked doors for Cynthia in Pauls Valley the Saturday prior to Election Day.  Voters saw through the misinformation that was being spread, and she won her race handedly.

Across Oklahoma, candidates who are favorable to full practice authority won. They won in metro districts and in small towns. They are Republicans and they are Democrats.

NPs spent a lot of time this fall talking to candidates and making the case for full practice authority. We’ve worked hard, and now the makeup of the new legislature gives us an excellent opportunity heading into 2019.

That’s no reason to be complacent, though. With the elections behind us, the work of AONP and nurse practitioners across the state turns to the legislative session that starts in February.

Talk to your legislators about nurse practitioners and full practice authority. Brand new legislators may not be familiar with the issue, so it’s our job to educate them. We’ve got a toolkit on our website to help you get started.

Once you talk to them, let us know how it went. Email benny@npofoklahoma.com and we’ll keep a tally of who supports us and who needs more information. 2019 can be our year, but we’ve got a lot of work to do to get our legislation passed into law.

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Invest in the Future

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 19, 2018

The elections are only a few weeks away, and it’s time to invest in the future of Oklahoma’s nurse practitioners.

 Through the AONP PAC, we pool our resources and support candidates who support our drive to increase health care access in Oklahoma. This is critical. We need your contribution more than ever. Opponents of full practice authority are spending money to elect candidates who side with them. We need to make our voices heard as well.

 This year, we distributed a survey to legislative candidates to educate them and get their opinions on the issues that are important to nurse practitioners. What we’ve seen is strong support for our position. A list of candidates who replied to our survey and expressed favorable support for full practice authority can be found below.

 While candidate research is important, we also need to back up research with action. To do that, we need your help!

 Our work won’t stop with the election. At the annual conference, we also unveiled Voter Voice, a powerful tool to harness advocacy by nurse practitioners from across the state. If you choose to receive notifications, we can alert you via text or push notification when to call your legislators at the State Capitol. This will be a critical tool when the legislative session starts in February.

 You can register for an account HERE. You also can sign up for text updates, simply text AONP to 50457. And don’t forget to download the Voter Voice app for iPhone or Android and opt into notifications from AONP!

 There are great things ahead for AONP and for nurse practitioners across the state. We’ve spent years educating the public about full practice authority and building support in the legislature. With everyone working together, we’ll get this initiative through the legislature and signed into law!

See the attached list of legislators who replied to our survey with favorable support for full practice authority.


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Now Is the Time

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 27, 2018

With the runoff elections decided last month, legislative candidates are focused on November’s general election and we should be too. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with your local candidates for the legislature, now is the time to do so.

 AONP has already started this process by sending a survey to all registered candidates who made it through the primary and runoff elections. As the results of that survey come in, we’ll be deciding on candidate support.

 But we need your help on the ground, too.

 Several opponents of full practice authority were defeated during the runoff and primary elections. This results in many new faces in the legislature when the 2019 session starts in February. Those new members may not be familiar with the health care challenges facing our state or how nurse practitioners can help increase access to affordable, quality care.

 It’s up to us to explain it to them. AONP has the tools to help you!

 If you’re unsure of what to say or how to explain the issue, the Legislative page on our website has a toolkit that includes full practice authority talking points. If you don’t know who’s running for the legislature in your area, visit the Oklahoma State Election Board site or call your county election board.

 Once you’ve identified your local candidates, get out and find her or him and start the conversation about full practice authority. Throughout the fall, candidates will be attending fairs, parades, festivals and other events in their prospective districts. Most candidates have a website or a Facebook page with contact information.

 Once you've spoken to your candidates, tell us how it went! AONP leadership needs to know who supports us, who doesn't and who needs more information about the issue. Call us at 405-445-4874 or email Benny@npofoklahoma.com and tell us about your conversations.

 And, don’t forget how important it is to support the candidates who support us. Contributions to the AONP PAC help us elect legislators who believe in increasing health care access for Oklahomans.

 We’ve been building momentum for full practice authority in recent years and we’re closer than ever to success. This fall we have the opportunity to elect legislators who will get us across the finish line.

 

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Make a difference with the AONP PAC

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Last month’s AONP blog stressed the importance of getting out and speaking to candidates during the campaign season. Our members can learn where candidates stand on issues like full practice authority and educate them on why it’s a sound health care solution for Oklahoma.

But there’s more that we can do. It’s not enough to just know where candidates stand—we need to support those candidates who will support us. That’s why the AONP political action committee (PAC) is so important. It’s a tool we can use to help elect legislators who share our views on these issues.

While any of us can (and should!) give small donations to candidates we support, the PAC allows us to band together to make a bigger impact in races across the state. As our members talk to candidates throughout the state and report on their findings, we’re looking for those candidates who are worthy of support this fall. 

AONP leadership is also speaking to a number of legislators and candidates and determining where our money and our manpower will be most effective in building a strong legislative coalition.

We need your help in this effort! It’s easy to give to the AONP PAC. You can set up small, reoccurring donations that will have a big impact over time. Pooling our resources offers the best chance to have an impact in close legislative races.

We’ll also be bringing our members out to knock doors and campaign for some candidates who support us. Be on the lookout. We’ll let you know about upcoming campaign opportunities via email and on our Facebook page.

Until then, keep talking to candidates in your community about full practice authority. We’ve made great strides over the last few years. This November we can ride our current momentum to legislative victory! 

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Time to Talk to Candidates

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 30, 2018

There will be dozens of new faces in the legislature next year, so it’s important that we continue educating lawmakers and candidates about full practice authority and building support for our profession.

The Oklahoma primaries were held on June 26 and a number of candidates are facing run-off elections on August 28. Now is the time to educate legislative candidates about the role of nurse practitioners in the health care industry and get their thoughts on the issue.

State House and Senate candidates are out knocking doors, attending community events and hosting rallies and fundraisers in their districts. Candidates want to connect with people in their districts. They’re accessible and open to conversations.

If you’re not sure who is running in your area, contact your county election board. They can also confirm if you’re registered to vote.

Once you know the names of your local candidates, seek out opportunities to speak to them. Most campaigns will have a website, or at least a Facebook page, with contact information. It might also list upcoming campaign events.

Candidates will also be found around the community at events like parades, fairs and festivals. Introduce yourself and start a conversation. If you need tips on talking to candidates or talking about full practice authority, check out the toolkit on our legislative page.

Once you're spoken to your candidates, let us know how it went! AONP leadership needs to know who supports us, who doesn't and who needs more information about the issue. Call us at 405-445-4874 or email Benny@npofoklahoma.com and tell us about your conversations.

We’ve made incredible strides in the last few years. More than ever, the public and lawmakers understand the issue and they support our drive for full practice authority. Oklahomans want the freedom to choose their health care providers, and they want care that is accessible and affordable. Let’s work together to elect candidates that will make that a reality.

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NPs Boost State's Health and Economic Development

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2018

By: Emily Shipley, VP Government Affairs, State Chamber of Oklahoma 

A healthy business climate in Oklahoma depends on many factors — our cost of living, regulatory environment, corporate tax rates and more. In many of these areas, Oklahoma’s business environment is strong. One area where our state needs a check-up, however, is the health of our citizens and workforce.

The overall health of Oklahoma residents is poor compared to other states, and many in our state lack easy access to a primary care provider.

Oklahoma ranks 49th in physician-to-patient ratio, and significant portions of 76 of our 77 counties are designated primary care shortage areas. We desperately need more primary care providers, and this problem affects both the health of Oklahomans and economic development efforts in our state.

Businesses are unlikely to relocate, grow or expand in areas without adequate access to health care for their employees. Granting full practice authority to nurse practitioners could change that.

Every day in Oklahoma, thousands of people already rely on nurse practitioners for their primary care. For some, seeing a NP is a personal preference; for others, NPs are the only viable option, given the scarcity of primary care providers in many rural areas. 

Under Oklahoma’s current regulations, nurse practitioners must have a signed “collaborative agreement” with a physician, even though little or no collaboration may take place. Often, these agreements are merely signatures on a piece of paper, signatures that can cost a nurse practitioner thousands of dollars each month. 

Decades ago, when advance practice registered nurses were a new concept, this sort of regulation may have made sense. However, nurse practitioners have proven their effectiveness and professionalism over the years. 

Today, this regulation is unnecessary red tape that creates a financial barrier to opening new clinics. Without additional providers and greater access to health care services, Oklahoma will maintain its poor health outcomes and perpetuate the status quo. Oklahomans need health care that is both affordable and close to home.

There are nurse practitioners across the state ready to do their part caring for Oklahomans who live and work in designated primary care shortage areas/underserved communities. Plus, creating a more favorable regulatory environment could draw nurse practitioners from neighboring Texas, where they face similar restrictions.

This idea is cropping up across the country, with 22 states and the District of Columbia having already modernized their laws and regulations to provide greater health care access. Oklahomans deserve the same access.

Full practice authority for nurse practitioners will support economic development efforts across our state and provide Oklahoma businesses a healthier and more prosperous workforce. We look forward to supporting the legislature as they tackle this important health care issue.

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Full Practice Authority Wins Popular Support

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The more people learn about how nurse practitioners can meet crucial primary care needs, the more they support measures allowing them to do so.

That’s the takeaway from a survey conducted by AARP Oklahoma last fall. The poll found that 87 percent of Oklahoma voters age 40 and older support allowing nurse practitioners to serve as the primary or acute care provider of record for a patient.

That support cuts across political divides, with 84 percent of Republicans, 92 percent of Democrats and 89 percent of independents supporting the idea.

It’s no surprise, then, that a bill allowing nurse practitioners to put their full education and training to work caring for Oklahomans sailed through the Oklahoma House of Representatives last year on a bipartisan 72-20 vote.

That measure, House Bill 1013 by Rep. Josh Cockroft and Sen. AJ Griffin, has since been bottled up in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The committee’s chairman, Sen. Ervin Yen, refuses to hear the bill.

Oklahoma is in desperate need of more primary care providers. The state is 49th in physician-to-patient ratio, and all or part of 76 out of 77 counties are designated as primary care shortage areas

Nurse practitioners can do more to care for Oklahomans. They know the level of care they are educated to provide, and they are already regulated by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. Patient safety hasn’t been an issue in the 22 other states where NPs enjoy full practice authority.

It’s time to cut through the red tape and let NPs do their jobs. If you agree, contact your State Senator today and ask them to co-author HB 1013! 

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NPs lead the way with state Capitol advocacy

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Thank you to all of those who turned out at the state Capitol on Feb. 27 to advocate for greater health care access for Oklahomans!

Approximately 80 nurse practitioners attended AONP’s legislative day in support of House Bill 1013 by Rep. Josh Cockroft and Sen. AJ Griffin. We heard from a number of speakers, including AARP Oklahoma executive director Sean Voskuhl, before visiting with lawmakers about ideas to increase access to health care in the Sooner State.

HB 1013, which was introduced last year, aims to do away with the outdated requirement that NPs sign a collaborative agreement with a physician.

This is a common-sense solution to a real problem.

The truth is, our state is woefully short of primary care providers and that impacts the health of Oklahomans in substantial and measurable ways. We’re 49th in physician-to-patient ratio, and always in the bottom 10 in national health rankings. It’s time Oklahoma joined almost half the states in the country in giving NPs full practice authority.

HB 1013 passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on a 72-20 vote last legislative session but failed to receive a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The measure is still active and we are urging legislators to pass it this year.

Nurse practitioners have been leading the charge to cut through Oklahoma’s needless red tape, and implement a reform that’s already working in almost half of all states. This issue has momentum now, with a number of advocacy and business groups joining in the fight.

House Bill 1013 must pass out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee before April 12. If you’re tired of long drives or of waiting days for a primary care appointment, contact your state senator today and ask them to support and co-author HB 1013.

 

 

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Make your voice heard!

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 23, 2018

Time is running out to register for AONP’s legislative day at the state Capitol on February 27! We need you to join us to tell your elected representatives how nurse practitioners can help ease Oklahoma’s critical shortage of primary care providers.

For more than a year now, AONP has been working for the passage of House Bill 1013, by Rep. Josh Cockroft and Sen. AJ Griffin. The bill would free the profession from costly and needless collaborative agreements. That legislation remains stalled in the Senate Health and Human Services committee.

 Now is the time to act to secure full practice authority!

 The day will begin at 9 a.m. across the street from the Capitol at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive. Attendees will hear from several speakers, then take a bus to the Capitol to visit with legislators. The event concludes back at the History Center with lunch.

We need to turn out in large numbers to make a final push to get HB 1013 across the finish line. Today, 76 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties are designated as primary care shortage areas. Nurse practitioners can do more to care for their neighbors. We just need the legislature to remove the unnecessary red tape and let us put our education and training to use.

Join us on February 27 to make that goal a reality!

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Legislative Session Primer

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 1, 2018

 

As the legislative session gets underway, we’ll hear a number of arguments against full practice authority for nurse practitioners. Many of these arguments relate to patient safety, though those concerns are unfounded. Study after study has shown that utilizing a nurse practitioner as a primary care provider does not put patients at risk, and may increase health care access for many.

Here are some of the arguments you’ll hear in the coming months, as well as responses you can use to educate the public and allay any concerns they may have.

NPs simply want to play doctor, but without putting in the time that physicians do for education and training.

Nurse practitioners have at least a masters’ degree, and many have doctorates. In addition to their formal education, many NPs spend years working in clinical settings as registered nurses before achieving their NP certification. What’s more, they are not trying to “play doctor” or do anything more than NPs are trained to do.

 

Due to their lack of education and training, NPs are not qualified to make the best decisions for patients.

NPs know and understand their scope of practice. They know the limitations of their training and when to refer or consult with other professionals. Just like an ear, nose and throat specialist wouldn’t attempt heart surgery, NPs know what they are qualified to treat and what is outside their area of expertise. Many NPs currently run independent practices and they provide quality care for patients.

 

NPs practicing without physician oversight will create a patient-safety issue in Oklahoma.

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia grant full practice authority to NPs. That’s almost half the country, yet we don’t hear about patient safety crises in those states. Several years ago, the National Governors Association undertook a review of the available research and concluded that:

“None of the studies in NGA’s literature review raise concerns about the quality of care offered by NPs. Most studies showed that NP-provided care is comparable to physician-provided care on several process and outcome measures. Moreover, the stud­ies suggest that NPs may provide improved access to care.”

Further, a majority of states that employ full practice authority rank in the top half of the nation’s health rankings.

 

The best role for NPs is part of a team-based approach with a physician at the head of the team.

Nothing about full practice authority precludes nurse practitioners from working in a team-based setting. NPs are a vital part of many health care teams. Full practice authority simply means that nurse practitioners can practice as such without the necessary expense of paying for a collaborative agreement.

 

There’s no proof that NPs will open clinics in rural Oklahoma, and statistics show that NPs currently tend to practice where physicians are practicing.

NPs are currently clustered near physicians because they are required to have a collaborative agreement, and they face financial obstacles to opening their own clinics. In other words, they are practicing where they can currently find jobs.

Studies that have looked more in depth, though, have found that NPs are more likely than physicians to locate in rural areas. One study from Nursing Outlook found that:

“States granting NPs greater SOP [scope of practice] authority tend to exhibit an increase in the number and growth of NPs, greater care provision by NPs, and expanded health care utilization, especially among rural and vulnerable populations. Our review indicates that expanded NP practice regulation can impact health care delivery by increasing the number of NPs in combination with easing restrictions on their SOP.”

 Another study performed at Montana State University found that:

“For the 17 states that did not restrict scope-of-practice laws governing nurse practitioners at the time of the study, 62 percent of the state’s population had high geographic accessibility to a primary care nurse practitioner,” said Peter Buerhaus, the study’s author. “In contrast, in the 21 states that fully restricted the practice of nurse practitioners, the percent of the population with high accessibility to a primary care clinician decreased considerably.”

 

NPs simply want to use legislation – not the education or training needed – to earn the privilege of practicing medicine.

Nurse practitioners don’t want to practice medicine — they want to practice nursing. That’s why many of them have spent tens of thousands of dollars and years of their lives to earn Doctor of Nursing degrees. Nurses treat specific ailments, like a general practice physician, but their treatment philosophy also encompasses the health and well-being of the individual as a whole.

 

If a physician has an agreement with an NP, but isn’t providing any real supervision, that physician needs to be reported to the board.

That argument isn’t really related to the issue of full practice authority. Rather, it’s a talking point the physician community uses to distract from the issue of utilizing full practice authority to increase access to care for all Oklahomans. The fact is, several nurse practitioners already own their own clinics in Oklahoma, and many more are providing services to Oklahomans every day with little or no oversight from their collaborating physicians. In fact, the law doesn’t even require oversight — it only requires a signed collaborative agreement. The problem is that NPs might pay thousands of dollars every month for that agreement. Those are funds that could be used to open new clinics, hire additional staff — or just considered income for work performed. Nurse practitioners are nationally certified and regulated by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. The requirement for collaborative agreements is simply outdated red tape that is holding back health care in Oklahoma.

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2/27/2019
Legislative Day 2019

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