AARP State Director Barbara A. Sykes announced AARP's support of House Bill 177, designed to remove restrictive and outdated barriers that prevent Ohioans from accessing the full range of care provided by Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs).
"It's time that Ohioans have access to the full range of skills that APRNs, clinicians with advanced degrees, are certified to provide," said Sykes. "The Buckeye state has the opportunity to join 22 other states, the District of Columbia, and the Veteran's Administration, that have already revised outdated and overregulated rules."
Nurse practitioners, who typically practice primary care, can provide flexibility by serving in a wide variety of settings, including community health centers, medical offices and in the home.
HB 177 would help meet a provider need in the state by removing the need for unnecessary and expensive physician contracts for Advanced Practice Nurses providing routine care.
These contracts can delay access to care, especially in areas where there is a lack of available primary care physicians with whom the nurse can contract. Delays in care make it harder for older residents and people with physical disabilities to age in place.
Currently, 81 of 88 Ohio counties face a shortage of primary care providers, especially in underserved or rural areas. According to the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration and the Kaiser Family Foundation:
- Ohio has 153 primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas.
- All but 7 of Ohio's 88 counties have partial or full designation as primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas.
- The primary care health professional shortage areas include approximately 1,396,882 patients in our state.
"The shortage of primary care physicians in rural and underserved communities is hitting older consumers hard," said Sykes.
"Older adults frequently lack the ability and resources to get to their appointments because of mobility issues, long travel distances to a provider and wait times for appointments. This puts their health at risk and adds stress to family caregivers. We believe Ohio's nearly 6,000 nurse practitioners can be part of the solution to our provider shortage," said Sykes.
"We also believe that giving consumers the choice to directly access APRNs will help older adults and support family caregivers. Family caregivers too often bear the brunt of providing and overseeing the care of a loved one," said Sykes.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity of AARP that is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.