* From Sue Clark, who lobbies for the American Nurses Association Illinois…
Wanted to make sure you saw this. Governor Pritzker has most of this, and for that ANA-Illinois and nurses across Illinois are grateful. This letter highlights other issues needing to be addressed, in our opinoin.
What she sent was a letter from the US Secretary of Health and Human Services asking governors to immediately extend the capacity of their health care workforce to address the pandemic, with specific suggestions. Click here to read it.
* I asked Sue what other issues need addressing in Illinois. She sent me this…
COVID Nurse Workforce Issues.
1. Allow health Care professionals licensed in other states to practice across state lines.
a. The Governor, per Executive Order, allowed this practice around the border, which will help with direct patient care immediately around the border of Illinois.
b. Telehealth-need to allow telehealth from licensed healthcare professionals throughout the US.
c. Neither of these strategies would be needed for nurses, had Illinois joined the Nurse Licensure Compact.
2. Waive statutory and regulatory standards not necessary for standards of care: specific to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)*. Remove all barriers for access to care by APRNs. Other states have done this.
a. The Illinois Nurse Practice Act requires APRN scope of practice be linked directly to their national certification. If this requirement is waived, it allows more flexibility in providing care. Care for which APRNs are educated to provide in all settings.
b. Eliminate the requirement for Written Collaborative Agreements, (WCA), which requires physicians to determine what care an APRN may provide, including prescribing limitations. Would allow more flexibility and efficiency.
c. For CRNAs, waive the mandate for ‘physical presence’ of anesthesiologist, physician, podiatrist, or dentist. Elective surgeries have been cancelled so some hospitals are hiring CRNAs as RNs. The ‘physical presence’ requirement is causing confusion regarding liability issues. CRNAs are better utilized to provide lifesaving services such as intubation, ventilator management and insertions of arterial lines and other procedures. While we know RNs are and will be in demand, CRNAs are educated and proficient in these life saving measures that RNs are not.
3. Many Illinois pharmacists will not fill a prescription signed by an APRN. The law does not require a physician name or signature for APRNs prescriptions. Patients are being asked to return at a later time to allow for an unnecessary name of a physician. This needs to stop.
*APRNs in Illinois in order to be licensed must have at least a Masters Degree, obtain and maintain national certification in their specialty. For instance, a Nurse Practitioner is one category of APRN (the others are CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists), CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialists) and CNM (Certified Nurse Midwives)
There are subspecialties especially for Nurse Practitioners, like pediatric, adult, family, mental health, emergency, etc, etc. The NPA (Nurse Practice Act) requires APRNs to practice within the certification specialty. What we are asking is to allow all APRNs to practice wherever there is need for increased access to APRN care. Flexibility during this time.
Written Collaborative Agreement (WCA): is a written agreement between a physician and APRN. In the agreement the physician must delegate whatever care the physician wants to allow. Nursing has tried to eliminate this for many years, as APRNs are well educated and practice within the scope of practice. In 2017, APRNs to meet specific requirements my obtain full authority to practice without a WCA. One stipulation is that an APRN must work 4000 hours with a WCA.
* TL/DR? Probably. But I mistakenly tweeted last year that Sue had been murdered, so I figure I owe her one.
Anyway, she ended with this…
Ok, so I gave you too much information!
The bottom line:
1) Remove all barriers for access to APRN care, including but not limited to eliminating the WCA mandate and remove limitations on scope of practice. And, includes removing the requirement for physical presence of any other healthcare provider when anesthesia care is administered by a CRNA.
2) Require the acceptance of prescriptions written by an APRN, as authorized by the Nurse Practice Act.