SB 2079: Full practice authority for nurse practitioners
Senate Bill 2079, authored by Sen. Kevin Blackwell, would provide full practice authority to nurse practitioners in Mississippi.
Currently, a nurse practitioner is required to enter into a collaborative agreement with a physician. This bill would exempt nurse practitioners from that requirement after 6,240 hours (about three years) of practice.
A majority of states now provide nurse practitioners with full practice authority. Last year Utah became the 27th state to allow nurse practitioners to work to the full extent of their training. By enacting this legislation, Mississippi would join those states.
Last year, Empower released a new report, Nurse Practitioners and the Quality of Care, which answers concerns about the quality of care provided by nurse practitioners, and more particularly about the quality of their education.
The report first looked at the quality of education. Becoming a nurse practitioner requires at least a master’s degree in nursing. All nurse practitioners must pass the national certification exam in the specialty in which they have trained. In order to take the national exam, nurse practitioner candidates must have completed a significant number of hours of supervised, hands-on experience as part of their training.
Further, the report showed:
- States that allow NPs to have full practice authority do not experience an increase in malpractice claims against NPs.
- Several peer-reviewed studies find that the quality of care provided by nurse practitioners within the scope of their training is comparable to the quality of care provided by physicians for the same diagnoses and treatments.
As Mississippi continues to face a growing physician shortage, particularly outside of the main population areas of the state, permitting nurse practitioners to work to their full training and education would fill numerous healthcare gaps for the state.
Empower Mississippi supports this legislation.
SB 2079 has been referred to the Senate Public Health Committee. You can read the bill here.