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AUSTIN, TEXAS — Utah is sending a clear message: The state is serious about improving access to health care. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) commends Gov. Spencer Cox and the Utah Legislature for retiring unnecessary, outdated laws and ensuring patients have full and direct access to high-quality care from nurse practitioners (NPs).
Gov. Cox has signed Senate Bill 36 into law, capping a strong bipartisan effort to modernize outdated licensure laws for multiple professions, including NPs. With this change, Utah becomes the 27th state — along with the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories — to adopt Full Practice Authority (FPA).
“We applaud Utah for recognizing the need to update laws and make the most of their health care workforce,” said AANP President April Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN. “In the last two and a half years, four other states have taken similar action. These changes will help Utah attract and retain nurse practitioners, and provide patients access to high-quality care. We thank Governor Cox and the legislature for prioritizing patients and taking action to improve health care in the Beehive State.”
FPA is the authorization of NPs to evaluate patients, diagnose, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and initiate and manage treatments under the exclusive licensure authority of the state board of nursing. This regulatory framework eliminates outdated requirements for NPs to hold a state-mandated contract with a physician as a condition of state licensure and the provision of patient care.
"Utah joins an expanding list of states acting to retire outdated laws that have needlessly constrained their health care workforce and limited patient access to care,” said Jon Fanning, MS, CAE, CNED, chief executive officer of AANP. “Modernizing licensure laws is a no-cost, no-delay solution to strengthening the health of the nation. Decades of research show that states with Full Practice Authority are better positioned to improve access to care, grow their workforce and address health care disparities, while delivering quality health outcomes for patients. We look forward to more states following suit.”
NPs deliver high-quality health care in more than 1 billion patient visits each year. Millions of Americans choose NPs as their health care provider as they blend clinical expertise with an added emphasis on disease prevention and health management. NPs bring a comprehensive perspective to high-quality health care that patients trust. Currently, there are more than 355,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. providing care in communities of all sizes.
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 355,000 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. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. To locate an NP in your community, visit npfinder.com. For more information about NPs, visit aanp.org.