New Jerseyans desperately need better access to healthcare. Here is the solution. | Opinion

Written by Lauren Gilmore

Bring the COVID-19 pandemic Many challenges to the NJ health care system. As a registered nurse in the intensive care unit, I witnessed healthy people being wiped out by a new foreign virus.

I witnessed the virus infect and kill a wide range of people, regardless of age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, and health status. I never imagined that for so many strangers, I’d be the only person holding their hand when they died. I watched the intensive care unit full, cramped and overburdened.

In the midst of these challenges, nurses take on an increasing responsibility to get through this crisis. Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order No. 112which waived current practice limitations for Advanced Practice Nurses (APN).

An advanced practice registered nurse (APRN or APN) is a registered nurse with a graduate degree in one of the following specialties, she is a certified nurse anesthetist (CRNA), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), certified nurse midwife (CNM), and certified nurse practitioner (CNP). ).

Each of these practitioners specializes in different aspects of health care across the life span, and is trained in a specific aspect of health care delivery. During Executive Order 112, in critical care, I watched APNs rise to these challenges by easing the desperately needed provider gap and ultimately saving countless lives. New Jersey surveys indicate that more than 45% of APNs have worked without practice restrictions during the COVID-19 crisis, with no adverse events reported.

It is no secret that there is a shortage of healthcare providers and limited access to healthcare in New Jersey and other parts of the United States; Up to a quarter of the nation lives in a healthcare deficient area.

For many who live in areas of low socioeconomic status that lack services, healthcare providers are sorely needed. In New Jersey, there is a collaborative physician-APN model, in which the APN and physician create joint treatment plans for patients, with physical or electronic availability of the supervising physician.

The reality of the current model is this: mandatory medical supervision is an impediment to providing care to patients who need it. If the supervising physician retires, and no other willing physician is available, the nurse practitioner will have to stop seeing patients altogether.

Furthermore, the strict policies of health care systems restrict APNs from performing clinical skills that are within the scope of their education and training. These stringent requirements often drive APNs to move outside of New Jersey, to the other 24 states and Washington, D.C., which gives full exercise authority to APNs. So, New Jersey Senate Bill 1522 It seeks to deregulate the practice of APN and increase access to health care for its citizens.

One of the main sources of opposition to this law is concern about the need to consult a doctor and bring him in for certain treatments and patient scenarios. However, this concern is unfounded. The bill does not prevent an APN from contacting or consulting with a physician to treat a patient.

Furthermore, an APN who does not refer a patient beyond his or her level of training and experience should be held accountable and legally responsible for this decision. This bill is not intended to condone or encourage APNs to practice outside of their education; Instead, this legislation argues that APNs must be able to practice to the full extent of their training and license.

Another opposing argument is that expanding APN practice could increase malpractice premiums for physicians. However, there is no evidence that lenient health care licensing laws increase malpractice premiums, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. In fact, APNs, who are compensated at lower rates compared to their physician counterparts, offer huge cost savings to healthcare facilities and health insurance companies.

There are more than 10,000 APNs practicing In New Jersey, where a large percentage of them work in primary care. According to the legislation, Eliminating practice restrictions on APNs in New Jersey has the potential to reduce health care disparities by more than 38%.

Despite this fact, this bill is facing stiff opposition from physician groups, who wield enormous lobbying power and whose concerns are misguided and unfounded. Doctors are invaluable members of the healthcare team, and no one would argue with that.

Senate Bill 1522 is simply a solution to the problem of patient access to care in New Jersey. Everyone gets sick at some point. Everyone deserves health care. Support for New Jersey Senate Bill 1522.

Lauren Gilmore is a Registered Nurse from Princeton. I worked in the intensive care unit during the height of the pandemic.

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