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Medicaid Action Alert!

Posted By AONP, Tuesday, April 26, 2016


As you know, Medicaid rates are on the verge of being cut an additional 25 percent due to the state’s budget shortfall.


That would bring rates down to 61 percent of the Medicare rate. Even if you are not personally reimbursed by Medicaid, this rate cut will negatively affect every individual and every community across Oklahoma as hospital and clinics are forced to lay off staff or shut their doors.


As we’ve been urging, we need you to write your legislators! Ask them to support the Medicaid Rebalancing Act and to vote in favor of the tobacco tax increase. If you don’t know who represents you in the legislature, you can find that information here.


AONP is working with the Oklahoma Nurses Association to encourage legislators to support the proposed Medicaid Rebalancing Act. Nico Gomez met with us several weeks ago to discuss this proposal, and that presentation can be found here.


Make your letters as specific and personal as possible. Here are some questions to consider:


·      How long can you endure these cuts and still provide services?

·      What percentage of your patients are on Medicaid?

·      How many of those are children, young mothers, the elderly or disabled?

·      How many jobs might be lost as your workplace absorbs the cuts?

·      How will this affect access to care in your community?

·      Where will your neighbors seek medical care and how far will they have to drive for primary, emergency or specialty health care?

·      If the local hospital or clinic is forced to close, how will this affect other businesses and the community as a whole?


One in every 3 Oklahomans is enrolled in Medicaid. These cuts will be catastrophic to the health care infrastructure in Oklahoma. We must act, and we must act quickly, to educate lawmakers about the consequences of these cuts and motivate them to work together to find a solution!



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AONP Town Hall Meetings Are Coming to You

Posted By AONP, Friday, April 15, 2016

AONP Town Hall Meetings


We saw so many APRNs help represent us at the Oklahoma State Capitol, but we also understand that much of the work APRNs do in Oklahoma happens in all corners of the state. To help build solidarity amongst APRNs across the state, AONP has scheduled town hall meetings in nine cities across Oklahoma.


These meeting will give APRNs the opportunity to visit with colleagues from throughout their region and get the latest information on legislative issues and updates on the plan for next legislative session. We will also discuss Medicaid proposals from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, AONP membership, grassroots lobbying and answer your professional and political questions.


Invite all of your APRN friends. These meetings will be open to all APRNs regardless of whether or not they are AONP members.


Board members will attend the meetings at all nine locations, as well as Benny Vanatta, AONP Executive Director and lobbyist. Find a meeting location near you below:



Dates and times of the meetings are:



6 to 8 p.m.

April 21

Holiday Inn Express, 4702 W Owen K. Garriott

Click here to register



6 to 8 p.m.

May 5

Holiday Inn Express, 3840 W Second St., Edmond

Click here to register



6 to 8 p.m.

May 18

Holiday Inn Express, 4106 SE Price Road
Click here to register



6 to 8 p.m.

June 9

Holiday Inn Hotel, 10020 E 81stSt.

Click here to register



6 to 8 p.m.

July 14

Holiday Inn Express, 209 SE Interstate Drive

Click here to register



6 to 8 p.m.

July 21

Holiday Inn Express, 1811 S Peaceable Road

Click here to register



9:30 a.m.

Aug. 13

Holiday Inn Express, 3825 E Mail St.

Click here to register



6 to 8 p.m.

Aug. 25

Comfort Suites, 400 SE Lincoln

Click here to register



6 to 8 p.m.

Sept. 1

Holiday Inn Express, 3333 Williams Ave.

Click here to register


Any APRN in Oklahoma may attend any or all of the meetings they desire. We will see you there!


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Moms are Choosing Nurse Practitioners for Primary Care

Posted By AONP, Thursday, March 24, 2016


Ryan is an active 7-year-old boy. If he’s not studying moves in his Jiu Jitsu class, you might find him playing with his dogs or near a Minecraft controller.


Ryan’s mom Amber Knapp is what you might call a health nut. As a beachbody instructor and personal trainer, she is the kind of person who watches the health and wellness of her family very carefully. You shouldn’t be surprised that, for her son’s primary care provider, Amber turns to a nurse practitioner.


Mrs. Knapp has a friend who is a nurse practitioner and says, “Having seen the amount of studying and work she completed to become an ARNP was one reason I feel completely confident with her as our provider.”


This 2008 study on the quality of care provided by nurse practitioners compared to doctor-provided care confirms her personal findings. The results point to the conclusion that patients are generally more satisfied with their care from a nurse practitioner than that of a doctor.


Quality of care is important to most people, and nurse practitioners are known to be generally more available than doctors. As Amber Knapp says, “I feel that NPs are more accessible than MDs. They seem to be more patient-focused and spend extra time to ensure the patient is at ease.”


Many moms across the state go to a nurse practitioner as their primary care provider, and many are in favor of full practice authority. Mrs. Knapp stated,



“I would agree with full practice authority. When my son’s general practitioner retired, I started taking him to see a pediatric nurse practitioner. I was very impressed with how much more thorough the exam process was and how much thought and care she put into the assessment and his well child check. It was our first visit with an NP and I feel she went above and beyond the basic exam. She calmed my nerves as a parent and answered all my questions without seeming like I was intruding on her time.”


“She is more than willing to take phone calls and answer questions anytime. If she is unavailable, she makes sure we can be seen ASAP with another practitioner in her clinic. I would very much recommend a nurse practitioner as a primary care provider. I have had nothing but great experiences with our NP.”


There are many caring mothers in Oklahoma who also choose a nurse practitioner for primary care. If you are one of those moms, tell us your story! Contact us and follow our Facebook page to join a community of NPs and supporters.








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Answering Your Questions About HB 2841 #RightToPractice

Posted By AONP, Tuesday, February 9, 2016


As many of you have heard, HB 2841 has been assigned to the Appropriations and Budget (A&B) Health Subcommittee. So far, Dr. Doug Cox has not agreed to hear the bill, but we still have time to speak with legislators before the deadline. We currently have almost 20 co-authors and we ask that you continue to reach out to your state representatives. The more co-authors we have, the better chance we have of our bill being heard. We are not going to give up on full practice authority!

Many of our AONP members have been asking questions about the bill and the best ways to help the bill. We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions about HB 2841, and an update of its progress.

Who are the co-authors of HB 2841?

We have had many requests for a current list of co-authors for HB2841. The path of a bill and the paperwork and verification of the process surrounding it takes time. The list of co-authors will continue to change as more representatives agree to sign-on. Bear with us as we try to keep this list current. You can view the most updated list of co-authors here, or check in on our AONP Facebook page.

What hospitals and other organizations support HB 2841?

So far, the current list of hospitals and organizations that support HB 2841 includes St. Francis Tulsa, St. Anthony OKC, Tulsa University School of Nursing, Southwestern Medical Center, St. John Trauma Center and Duncan Regional Hospital. Visit our updated list of supporters for the latest update to this list.

When is the deadline?

The deadline for reporting House bills and joint resolutions from House committees is Friday, Feb. 26.

How can I help?

Right now, contacting your state representatives and explaining the importance of HB 2841 is the best thing you can do. After talking with a legislator, let Benny Vanatta know, so he can follow up with that legislator.

Is there anything I should avoid doing?

Avoid negative or sarcastic speech that can be seen as offensive. Also avoid creating additional messaging platforms that can confuse the public. We want to present a united front against the opposition of this bill, and to do that we need to stick to official messaging and lobbying efforts.

What is our AONP leadership doing to help?

Our leadership has met with many members of committee assigned to the bill, including Dr. Cox himself. We have met with many organizations including the Oklahoma Rural Hospital Association, Oklahoma Health Care Authority and many of Oklahoma’s legislators. We will continue to promote HB 2841 at the Oklahoma Capitol and across the state.

We appreciate your continued help in fighting for the #RightToPractice.




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HB 2841 - Time For Action

Posted By AONP, Friday, February 5, 2016


We’ve hit our first challenge and need your help! Our bill allowing for full practice authority, HB 2841, is assigned to the Appropriations and Budget (A&B) Health Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Doug Cox. So far, Rep. Cox has not agreed to hear the bill. This is discouraging, but we still have three weeks to do everything we can to get that bill out of committee.


We currently have almost 20 co-authors and we ask that you continue to reach out to your state representatives. The more co-authors we have, the better chance we have of our bill being heard. Don’t forget to also contact your local hospital administrator to ask for their support. We are not going to give up on full practice authority!


Remember that even if you disagree with a legislator, respect and courtesy are vital. We want legislators to be our friends and help us. A legislator will always defend one of their colleagues, so attacking one may turn others against our cause.


Letters to legislators work best when they have a personal touch, but to get you started here's a letter template. To find your local House member, follow this link:


Working together, we can bring this issue to the attention of all our legislators and improve every Oklahoman’s access to quality, affordable care.






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Featured NP: Damarcus Nelson

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Featured NP - Damarcus Nelson 

Damarcus Nelson has been selected  to receive the AANP Advocate State Award for Excellence. This prestigious award is given annually to a dedicated NP advocate in each state who has promoted the NP role and patient access to care. 

"This recognition from American Association of Nurse Practitioners is not only an honor but, a privilege to be mentioned in the same breath with providers that have pushed our profession forward. The award will be given at the upcoming AANP national conference in San Antonio, TX June 24, 2015. I'm very excited to represent Oklahoma health care and my fellow NPs in our fight for full practice authority in the state. This award has made my fire for pushing our profession even stronger and will continue to make me a better provider in years to come. Thank you to those who have supported me along the way and continue to help Oklahoma NPs be elite healthcare providers." - Damarcus Nelson

Damarcus Nelson has been practicing in Oklahoma since 2012 with Family Healthcare and Minor Emergency. "We service a large area of patients from Piedmont to Oklahoma City.  Currently we have three clinics to service the surrounding patient population.  Our practice is NP owned and operated. We see a large amount of Soonercare, commercial, and DDSD patients. Currently I act as a lead provider and many patients call me their PCP (primary care provider). I wake up everyday loving what I do and treating every patient like they are family. I welcome what the future has in store for NPs throughout the state of Oklahoma." 

We congratulate Damarcus Nelson and share in the excitement for what the future has in store for NPs throughout the state of Oklahoma!

Tags:  Featured NP 

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How Can I Help AONP?

Posted By AONP, Monday, January 11, 2016

How Can I Help AONP?

We have had many people ask us lately, “How can I help advance AONP?” The number one way you can help Nurse Practitioners across Oklahoma is simply to tell your story of how NPs help improve health care in Oklahoma. A first-person story is always the best way to connect with someone on an issue. 


Keep it Local

If you’d like to share the advantages of NP care to your state, reaching out to your local community is relatively easy to do. Perhaps you could invite a local or state government official to tour your practice.

Reach out to existing civic groups in your community to add the topic of NP care to discussions at chambers of commerce, business groups, schools, PTAs and other community forums. You could organize a health fair with your local NP group, and reach out to local public venues that might be interested in hosting such an event.

With your practice or your local NP group, support a local non-profit organization. Encourage healthy physical activity by sponsoring a fun-run, where proceeds benefit a local non-profit organization. Build positive ties in your community, and your voice and message will be respected.




Deliver the Letter

If you have a knack for writing, you might want to think about writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Letters provide a public forum to open up a discussion with the public. Remember to include all pertinent contact information, as the newspaper will want to contact you to verify the article.

Be timely in your response to news events. Be clear in your language, and focus on one main point. Get your readers’ attention at the beginning of the article with an interesting fact, and then keep their attention through about three paragraphs.

Show respect to your readers and avoid personal attacks or rudeness. A letter to the editor is meant to be of an opinionated nature, but should be strongly backed up with facts. Check and recheck for grammar and spelling mistakes. Hand it off to a friend or family member for additional proofreading. Read several letters to the editor before you begin writing yours to assess the publication and their editors’ tastes.

If your letter is not published, don’t worry or be discouraged.


Online Outreach

The internet is the largest discussion forum that exists. Share good news about NP care in the online groups that you are already a part of. To maximize the community of peers that you share ideas with, check out some of these existing online resources for NPs:

Like and follow AONP’s Facebook Page

Follow AONP on Twitter

Visit the AONP website

Follow AONP on Instagram

Visit the AANP website

Join AANP’s LinkedIn Group 

Visit AANP on YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.


No matter the venue you choose to share the impact of NP health care, speaking up is the important part. Join us as we aim to show the entire state of Oklahoma the importance of NP health care.


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How Nurse Practitioners Could Help Save Rural Health Care in Oklahoma

Posted By AONP, Monday, December 21, 2015


We are reaching a rural health care turning point

With about 175 doctors for every 100,000 residents in Oklahoma, the second lowest ratio in the country, Oklahoma is in the midst of a health care turning point.

State Impact’s Joe Wertz tells the story of rural Oklahoma and its small, but dedicated team of health care professionals. “When it comes to primary medical care, all but six of the state’s 77 counties have ‘medically underserved’ populations, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nine counties — in their entirety — have been designated Health Professional Shortage Areas. The shortage hasn’t gone unnoticed by lawmakers.”

Why is there a medical shortage in rural Oklahoma communities?

A combination of factors form the barrier to providing care to those citizens away from city centers. “Training location makes a big difference in medicine,” points out Rick Ernest of the Physician Manpower Training Commission. “If you want a rural doctor, you have to train them in a rural area,” he says, citing research showing most doctors end up practicing within 50 miles of where they were trained.

“The course of most young doctors has been established by the time their residency ends,” says Robert Valentine, a medical resident at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Oklahoma City. “If they aren’t committed to rural care by then, it’s too late,” he says.

More rural residency programs would also help train doctors who are already committed to the idea of working in a small town setting. Oklahoma only has a handful of residency programs, the majority of which are in metro areas.

Perhaps the biggest factor is the power of cash. Medical students graduate with an average of $140,000 in debt, and instead of setting up a family practice in rural Oklahoma, most physicians are tempted to become a specialist, which can be a more lucrative position.

How can nurse practitioners reach these communities?

Nurse practitioners (NPs) can help meet the primary health care needs of these rural consumers, but outdated state scope of practice laws are keeping NPs from practicing to the full extent of their education and training, making it harder for patients to get the care they need.

Oklahoma law requires a supervising or collaborative agreement between each NP and a physician for prescription coverage. This law does not require a physician to sign off on any of their prescriptions. Physicians must make themselves available for collaboration, according to the Oklahoma Nursing Practice Act. NPs independently order lab work, x-rays and other diagnostic tests without any additional requirement of a physician input and may refer patients to specialists as needed.

In many instances a physician may never participate in the practice of an NP. The requirement to practice is hindered by the need to find a physician who is willing to serve as a supervising physician. The supervision is a signed form that satisfies the requirement of the Oklahoma Board of Nursing for prescriptive authority but does not alter the practice of the NP. Often times these supervisors practice several counties away from the NP office and are limited to supervising only two full time NPs. The cost to obtain a supervising physician to complete the required documents and be available for collaboration may run annually $20,000 to $50,000 of un-reimbursable costs to the NP. “These laws and regulations restrict the care NPs can provide, particularly in underserved rural areas where no physicians may practice.” –Campaign For Action.

In summary, allowing NPs to practice at the full extent of their education and eliminating collaborative agreements would save each practice thousands of dollars, decreased red tape for certain orders and improve overall access to healthcare. Many states have already taken action.

States who have taken action

North Dakota faced experiences very similar to our situation in Oklahoma due to the influx of energy workers in the oil and gas business in North Dakota’s rural areas. Those new consumers combined with the existing rural population caused expanded demand for health care that went unanswered because of limited access.

The main barrier to providing care to these North Dakota citizens was the requirement that NPs had to form a collaborative agreement with a physician to prescribe medications similar to the current situation in Oklahoma. Even when North Dakota NPs desired to practice in these underserved rural areas, many areas simply had no physicians in the area available.

In 2011, the governor of North Dakota enacted a law that allowed NPs to prescribe medications without restrictive physician oversight. The strategy seems to be working. The number of NPs in North Dakota has increased from 650 in 2011 to more than 1,000 today.

Nevada passed a similar law to North Dakota’s in 2013. Debra Scott, MSN, RN, FRE, executive director of the Nevada State Board of Nursing, explains how before the law was passed, few NPs were working in underserved rural areas, which meant that some patients had to drive one to five hours for care, Scott said. “Research shows that patients receive the same quality or better quality care from NPs as they do from physicians,” she said. “It’s been a wonderful way to recruit NPs to Nevada and meet the needs of people in rural areas, as well as those who are now covered by health insurance.”

To date, only 21 states and the District of Columbia allow NPs to practice to the full extent of their education and training.


What does Oklahoma’s future hold?

So where does this leave the state of Oklahoma? This November, Rep. Jon Echols initiated an interim study on “Expanding Access to Primary Care for Oklahomans and the Role of the Nurse Practitioner” to the House Public Health Committee. Over 60 NPs were present to give testimony and support on the issue. The public is passionate about this issue, and lawmakers have been taking notice.

Join the AONP as we will be putting up a fierce fight in 2016 for the #RightToPractice. We look forward to becoming the next state to give full practice authority to NPs.














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Oklahoma Celebrates NP Week and 50 Year of Nurse Practitioners

Posted By AONP, Friday, November 13, 2015

Oklahoma Celebrates NP Week and 50 Year of Nurse Practitioners

Posted ByAdam Ray, Thursday, October 29, 2015

This year marks the 50thanniversary of the profession of nurse practitioner!The first NP program was founded in 1965 by Loretta Ford, EdD, PNP, FAAN, and Henry Silver, MD, at the University of Colorado. In the 1970s, the program became a master’s degree program and had diversified into many different specialty NP programs. Today there are hundreds of thousands of nurse practitioners practicing in scores of specialty areas.

What is NP Week?

“National Nurse Practitioner Week is held annually to celebrate these exceptional healthcare providers and to remind lawmakers of the importance of removing outdated barriers to practice so that NPs will be allowed to practice to the full extent of their experience and education.” -AANP

Oklahoma nurse practitioners have had an exciting 2015! We just wrapped up our 2015 Fall Conference, and we are thrilled to continue building awareness about our profession in the community this National Nurse Practitioner Week Nov. 8-15, 2015.

Why is NP Week important?

Over the last fifty years, the health care need has grown. With the Affordable Care Act and more people are seeking medical care, states are seeing the need to allow full practice authority to nurse practitioners. To date 21 states have allowed NPs the full scope of practice.

The AONP, AANP and friends are working hard toward full practice authority for Oklahoma, as the need for access to affordable healthcare is becoming more apparent. Currently, there are more than 205,000 practicing NPs with over 244,000 expected to be practicing by 2025.

How can I spread awareness?

Share your personal story with your friends. Why is it important to you that nurse practitioners have full practice authority? A first-person story is always the best way to connect with someone on an issue.

Follow us on FacebookandTwitterand our#RightToPractice hashtagto keep up with news and information related to nurse practitioners in Oklahoma.

Watch and share this video. Remind people that it’s NP Week!As the video states, nurse practitioners are at the forefront of our healthcare future, and millions of people choose a nurse practitioner as their primary health provider. 

Share some NP facts

  • Patients whose primary care providers are NPs have fewer emergency room visits and shorter hospital stays, resulting in lower out-of-pocket costs
  • NPs emphasize the health and well-being of the whole person in their approach, including helping patients make educated health care decisions and healthy lifestyle choices.
  • The confidence patients have in NPs is demonstrated by the more than 916 million visits made to NPs each year.
  • NPs offer high-quality, cost-effective, patient-centered health care.
  • NPs provide a full range of services, such as ordering, performing and interpreting diagnostic tests; diagnosing and treating acute and chronic conditions; prescribing medications and treatments; and managing overall patient care.

You can find more talking points, facts and resources in theNP Week Resource Guidemade by the AANP.



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