In signing three new House Bills, Governor Ritter has put Colorado back in line with most other western states in allowing Advanced Practice Nurses (APN) to treat Coloradan’s more effectively through increased access and better patient management.
In step with recommendations from the 208 Blue Ribbon Commission on healthcare reform, House Bills 1060, 1061, and 1094 put Colorado back on track with the current trends in healthcare reform. Before these bills "Colorado was at a place where we had the skilled clinicians in the community with the education and expertise to meet the State’s healthcare needs, but outdated statutes prevented the delivery of effective and streamlined care," explained Dr. Tay Kopanos, Nurse Practitioner with the Colorado Nurses Association. These bills will address that problem by removing bureaucratic obstacles and make the care provided by Advanced Practice Nurses more accessible and efficient. Advanced Practice Nurses—Nurse Practitioners, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, Certified Nurse Midwives, and Clinical Nurse Specialists—are Registered Nurses that hold a minimum of a Master’s degree and have received additional education in their specialty area. APNs have been safely meeting the needs of Coloradans for over four decades. Today’s bills will improve access to care, minimize the barriers to completing the paperwork of healthcare, and increase the number of providers for Colorado Medicaid recipients
HB1060 addresses the need for adequate healthcare providers and patient choice. This bill provides a mechanism for patients to directly select an APN from their insurance network. This will increase healthcare access to all areas of the state—rural, urban and suburban.
HB1061 is about "treating the paperwork" of healthcare when the care has been delivered by an APN. It will make care delivery more efficient and streamlined by having the treating provider treat both the patient and the paperwork. Patients will no longer need to wait to obtain documents that attest to health status—like physicals and handicap parking placards—and obtain healthcare services—such as home oxygen and advanced directives (Do Not Resuscitate Orders).
HB 1094 updates the Medicaid statute to improve access for some of our most vulnerable patients. Medicaid recipients often face challenges in finding a provider. Updating the statute to include all APNs will increase primary care, mental health and specialty service access for those on Medicaid.
Karen Tomky, a rural Nurse Practitioner in Ordway and a member of the Governor’s newly appointed Scope of Care Task Force believes that these advances will "allow Advanced Practice Nurses to use all their skills and get timely care to patients." Now, that is one healthcare prescription that is good for all of Colorado.
To get additional information about Advanced Practice Nurses, the impact of these bills, or a copy of the APN legislative video contact: Tay Kopanos Tel 303-994-5438.