The Northeast Kansas Nurse Practitioner Alliance (NEK NPA) is a member organization of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). We are dedicated to the promotion of health, function, and quality among the residents of Northeast Kansas through the ongoing education, connection, and participation of Advanced Practice Nurses. We strive for a sound policy and regulatory foundation that enables nurse practitioners to provide accessible, high quality healthcare to the public.

Become a member and network with fellow NP’s, attend educational offerings, be informed of policy updates and current legislative news.

 


Happy New Year Kansas NP Colleagues!

A legislative recap of the highlights of 2016 – from your AANP state representative.

HB 2205/SB 69, which was the bill for removal of the collaborative agreement and written protocol, had an informational hearing in the House last spring. The Senate Hearing was the year before. It was an opportunity to educate legislators about the role of APRNs in Kansas and our limitations due to outdated regulations.

Last session, we also continued to fight HB 2205/SB 218 introduced by the Kansas Medical Society for BOHA oversight of APRNs. AANP’s Kansas NP member organizations and other Nursing associations gave opposition testimony during the hearing of their bill. Neither bill made it out of committee and the bills died in May.

The Nurse Midwife Bill, HB 2280 was passed, even though many in the APRN community opposed the legislation. Currently the CNMs, BON and BOHA are working to try to find consensus on rules and regulations. As anticipated, the physician community is trying to limit CNM practice even further than it had been in prior law, and create a laundry list of skills CNMs can perform. The BON and CNMs are trying to retain the recognition of broad CNM practice. The new law is supposed to go into effect mid-January; however as the two sides can’t find common ground, I don’t know what will happen to the law. The significant challenges that have come out of this law have underscored the problems that regulation of APRNs under the Board of Healing Arts would bring and why it won’t work. A few of the legislators involved in the bill now clearly understand the issues that the Nursing community was sharing.

The Governor also granted an interim committee during the fall called the Committee for the Organization of Public Health Boards. One of the considerations was to put BON under BOHA. After strong nursing testimony, the committee decided NOT to change the current set-up of BON and BOHA. It was a great win! The testimony demonstrated that the BON is twice as efficient as the BOHA in regulating their respective licensees.

In late December, the VA published a final rule to grant veterans direct access to NPs, CNMs and CNS’s. This provides further support that NPs are safe, quality providers and will hopefully bring increased support for states to move towards full practice. It will be interesting to see how the VA rule impacts local hospitals that VA NPs use for diagnostic and lab orders, along with any outside pharmacy orders when veterans live more than 40 miles from a VA facility. Hopefully, there will be increased pressure to change limitations on NPs with time. I don’t know how all of the VA changes will shake out, but there should be an impact on the private sector, I would think.

Nurse Practitioners across the state need to stay involved in our practice statutes and make the effort to help shape the future of NP practice in Kansas. A few people alone are not enough to stand up for our patients and practice, and counter the efforts of the organized medical associations in the state to restrict practice. Everyone needs talk to your legislators about the barriers to providing care that you and your patients run into every day.

As we start into 2017, please be willing to be a contact person in your district that will talk to your legislators about health issues. Individual constituents (voters…you!) speaking to policy makers is the only way we can eventually get our statutes changed. With 92 out of 105 counties designated as underserved here in Kansas, it doesn’t take long to have something to talk about that policy makers are interested in. Be willing to be a resource for your legislator on health issues affecting your community. Please let me know how I can support you to in being part of the solution to improve NP practice in Kansas, resulting in better access and care for our patients.

As always, if you have issues or concerns, let me know.

Michelle Knowles, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC
AANP Kansas Rep.