AANP urges legislators to follow FTC lead against practice restrictions

AUSTIN, Texas — The American Association of Nurse Practitioners, a national professional membership organization for nurse practitioners of all specialties, is calling on state lawmakers to consider the consequences of undue restrictions on APRNs, or nurse practitioners, as recommended by the Federal Trade Commission.

On March 7, the FTC released a policy paper that states, "limiting the range of services APRNs may provide and the extent to which they can practice independently … may reduce competition that benefits consumers." The Commission goes on to recommend that state legislators exercise caution when evaluating proposals that would limit nurse practitioner practice and direct patient access to nurse practitioner services.

The paper, “Policy Perspectives: Competition and the Regulation of Advanced Practice Nurses,” is part of the FTC's ongoing work to protect consumer choice and competition in the healthcare marketplace.

AANP points to the paper as a valuable new resource for legislators weighing the impact of state licensure laws on patient populations.
"Like the FTC, we believe that competition among healthcare providers results in greater access, lower costs and quality improvement," said Kenneth Miller, co-president of AANP. "Full patient access to high-quality nurse practitioner services is essential for making such competition a reality."

"State legislation that prevents full and direct access for patients has the potential to further hamper our healthcare delivery system," said Angela K. Golden, co-president of AANP. "It is our hope that legislators pay close attention to the analysis of the FTC and honor the health care needs of their constituents."

The FTC paper included additional statements in support of nurse practitioners, such as:

  • Research demonstrates that nurse practitioners provide safe and effective care;
  • Nurse practitioners might help alleviate health care access problems across the United States if undue regulatory burdens on their practice are reduced;
  • Effective collaboration among healthcare providers, including team-based care, does not always require physician supervision of nurse practitioners; and
  • Fewer restrictions on nurse practitioners would be good for competition and America's health care consumers.
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