A bill that would give nurse practitioners more freedom has moved forward in the Unicameral.
Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue sponsors LB 107 which would remove current restrictions on nurse practitioners in under-served areas of the state.
“Colleagues, there is no baby in this bathwater,” Crawford told colleagues in her opening in floor debate. “It is time to throw out the IPA and move into the 21st Century for truly integrated, patient-centered care.”
At present, nurse practitioners in Nebraska must reach an integrated practice agreement (IPA) with a doctor to treat patients. The bill would remove that requirement.
Crawford said 19 states have allowed nurse practitioners full practice authority. She said the state requirement limits competition and access to health care.
Sen. Les Seiler of Hastings cautioned senators against believing nurse practitioners can replace the family doctors expected to retire in the next few years.
“I just believe that we need some kind of control mechanism over this, so we don’t get dug in, because there’s no way to dig back out once we get down that road,” Seiler told his colleagues.
Sen. Mike Gloor of Grand Island reminded senators that a similar measure breezed to passage last year.
“Forty-three to nothing,” Gloor stated, recounting the vote from the previous session. “We don’t do that a lot on bills that have some degree of controversy and the reason we did is because all of the issues that are coming up, all of the questions that are coming up were addressed to the satisfaction of this body so that we had a 43-to-nothing vote.”
The bill didn’t become law, because Gov. Dave Heineman vetoed it so late in the session the Unicameral didn’t have time to seek an override.
The legislature advanced the bill to the next round of debate on a 35-to-2 vote.