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AUSTIN, TEXAS — As Kansas considers legislation, House Bill 2279, to address primary care provider shortages, a new statewide survey of Kansas voters shows broad bipartisan support to make it easier for patients to choose nurse practitioners (NPs) as their primary care providers. The poll, conducted by the Mellman Group February 16-21, found nearly three-fourths of Kansans back legislation that would enable patients to choose NPs.
In fact, support extends across key demographics for the state to end regulations requiring NPs to hold a government-mandated contract with a physician to provide patient care and services. Those demographics include gender, age, party identification and regions of the state. Further, most voters said they would be more likely to vote for a legislator who agreed to remove these restrictions.
If enacted into law, House Bill 2279 would make Kansas the 25th state to give patients full and direct access to NP-delivered care through Full Practice Authority (FPA), a legislative solution embraced by the National Academy of Medicine, National Governors Association, American Enterprise Institute and many others.
“Despite the state’s years of investment in physician residency and loan repayment programs, Kansans continue to face serious primary care and mental health access challenges. The data shows that Kansas patients are seeking NP-delivered care, and they want the legislature to modernize policies to allow them to choose NPs,” said April Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP). “It’s time for Kansas to retire these barriers that limit patient choice and access to NPs. Kansans want to implement tried-and-tested policies already embraced by nearly half the nation.”
According to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, as of Dec. 31, 2021, nearly 781,000 Kansans live in a federally designated primary care health professional shortage area where only approximately 52% of the need for primary care services is met. Even more alarming, mental health professional shortages impact more than 1.3 million Kansans, with just 32.74% of the need being met.
“This is a no-cost, no-delay solution that immediately cuts red tape in our state’s health system. We know 24 other states with this model in place are, frankly, more competitive: They have better access to care and more choices available for their patients,” said Christie Kriegshauser, director of government affairs for the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. “We urge state legislators to stand with Kansas voters, who have made their position clear. Kansas needs to be competing at the same level to start seeing some of these benefits. The time is now to pass this important legislation and improve the delivery of high-quality health care across our state.”
This week, the state Senate passed the bill by a vote of 30-7. It now moves over to the state House for approval.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 325,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NPs' patients and other health care consumers. To locate an NP in your community, visit npfinder.com. For more information about NPs, visit aanp.org.