Legislature debates nurse practitioner bill

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Updated: Fri, 21 Mar 2014 12:00:23 CST

As the state struggles with having enough health care providers we are increasingly reliant on nurse practitioners. Today the legislature will debate whether those nurse practitioners should be allowed to work without a contract with a physician.

LB 916 has drawn support from nurses, who highlight the argument that it is growing increasingly difficult to get doctors to practice in rural areas. But there has also been adamant opposition from the state's doctors and even the Department of Health and Human Services.

State Senator Sue Crawford introduced the bill because she says many nurse practitioners leave Nebraska because it is easier to practice in other states. Opponents say a collaborative relationship between doctors and nurse practitioners is essential.

17 states currently have full practice authority for Nurse Practitioners, including Colorado and Iowa.