Public Health Legislation
This assessment addresses the following course objective(s):
• Advocate for policies that improve the health of the public and the profession of nursing and health care administration.
Throughout this course, you have learned about the importance of political advocacy: how legislation can impact healthcare delivery, quality of care, patient outcomes, and various healthcare professional’s roles and practice.
For this final assignment, you will research current legislation related to public health (Unit 7 topics are a great place to start, example is Marginalized populations are groups of people who face discrimination and exclusion due to an imbalanced power dynamic across economic, political, social and cultural dimensions. In healthcare, these groups are at risk for poorer health outcomes, increased barriers to care, and inequitable treatment.
Read: Why Marginalization, Not Vulnerability, Can Best Identify People in Need of Special Medical and Nutrition Care (Links to an external site.) (Walker, 2018)
), but you can chose any topic just remember talk about GA , Atlanta and in regards of medsurge floor at the hospital, FNP student currently) Identify a piece of legislation you feel passionately about. You will complete parts I and II below, to illustrate your understanding of the legislation, state your position, call for action, etc.
Audience: Politicians who will be voting on your identified legislation.
Prepare a professional paper, summarizing the legislation itself, your position, call for action, etc. Cite relevant sources, which may include industry leader’s perspectives, or scholarly research. Minimum length of five pages.
Public Health Legislation
Legislations in healthcare are important in making necessary reforms aiming at improving the health of the public. The nurses play a critical role in advocating for legislation that improves patient care and the health of the public by increasing access to the safety of care and enhancing the quality of healthcare services. Through advocacy, effective changes related to health inequalities that put the marginalized groups at greater risks are implemented, leading to better outcomes. One area that I am passionate about and would advocate for the passing of legislation related to the issue is the scope of practice for advanced practice nurses. Having full practice authority can be effective in addressing medically underserved populations, especially on the medical-surgical floor. The discussion of the paper seeks to identify legislation related to public health, state personal position about the legislation, explain how the legislation relates to a marginalized group, and call for action.
The Legislation Identified
The Legislation identified is HB 213, a bill that is to be entitled an Act to amend Code Section 16-13-21, Article 6 of Chapter 4 of Title 6, the third part of Article 16 of Chapter 2 of Title 20, Article 1, chapter 26, and 34 of Title 43 of Official Code of Georgia Annotated. The sponsors of the Bill are six representatives from the democratic party. They include Mary Robichaux for district 48, Derick Jackson for district 64, Debra Bazemore63, Sandra Scott for district 76, Kim Schofield for district 60, and CaMia Hopson, a representative for district 153. The representatives introduced the bill on February 1, 2021. The first reading or the formal introduction of the bill took place on February 2, 2021. The current status of the legislation is to house second readers. The committees involved in the bill include the House Committee, Health & Human Services, and the Senate Committee.
The bill seeks to make various amendments relating to the definitions relative to controlled substances, registered professional nurses, student health, pharmacies, physicians’ assistants, and physicians. The amendments aim at providing full practice authority for advanced practice nurses and physician assistants registered and working in Georgia. The bill proposes that an advanced practice nurse should have the authority to order, prescribe, administer, procure, and dispense any pharmacological agent, medical device, diagnostic studies, medical treatment, and radiographic imaging tests as they find appropriate for the patient. The bill also proposes that an advanced practice registered nurse should be granted authority to request, sign and receive professional samples and distribute the samples to the patients. The amendment also proposes that an APRN should have the authority to pronounce death and provide the necessary certification with a similar effect with the physician. The prescription authority of the APRN regarding controlled substances is also to be expanded if the bill is signed into law. An APRN has the authority to prescribe auto-injectable epinephrine. An APRN can register with the DEA and other relevant authorities. The bill also proposes expansion on the scope of practice for physician assistants. The definition of various terms such as practitioner, an advanced practice nurse, physician, and physician assistant.
The Importance of the Bill
The country is currently facing a shortage of primary care providers, a situation that is expected to worsen with time. A report published by the American Medical College indicates that the shortage of primary care and specialty care is expected to be between 37,800 to 124 000 by 2034 (Heiser, 2021). The shortage is linked to various factors, including demographic changes such as aging, which increases the demand for health, the retirement of the current professionals, increased access to health care services. The shortage is even more prevalent in Georgia. Healthcare professionals in Georgia are unevenly distributed, which leaves a total of 141 counties in Georgia having a below statewide average ratio of doctors to residents. The state has a total of 148 medically underserved areas or populations (Sweeney, 2016). The medically underserved regions are the marginalized groups in this case as they have limited access to healthcare facilities and health care providers due to various issues, including poor transport system, few hospitals, and the limited number of healthcare professionals.
The demand for medical surgical nurses is expected to increase demand for surgery and a nationwide shortage of qualified nurses. It is estimated that 20% of the med Surg nurses will retire in the next five years, leading to further shortage (Keohn, 2021). The shortage will have a greater impact on the underserved populations as they may experience further limited access and availability of health care. The shortage of health care professionals, especially in Atlanta, is fueled mainly by the rapidly growing and aging of the population. There is, therefore, a need to address the shortage to enhance access to care to the public and specifically to the medically underserved populations.
My Position on the Legislation
I support the passing of the legislation seeking to grant full practice authority as it will be effective in addressing the shortage of primary care providers. Reports show that Georgia is one of the 12 states with the most restrictive practices for advanced nurse practitioners. According to Ortiz et al. (2018), the IOM’s recommendation for the removal of barriers to practice and to care is based on the effectiveness of the move to solve the shortage of health care providers, especially in primary care in underserved populations. The state should follow the examples of states that have granted full practice authority, which include Colorado, Alaska, Iowa, Hawaii, and others. The legislation will have a significant impact on public health due to increased access to healthcare services. The public will access different types of care, especially preventive care, which has great potential to improve health outcomes. As an FNP student, I believe it would be for the benefit of my patients to be able to practice to full practice authority to ensure that patients have increased access to primary care services, especially the underserved populations. Studies indicate that advanced nurse practitioners provide care comparable to physicians (Htay & Whitehead, 2021). They can therefore attain full practice authority without compromising the quality of care.
Call for Action
I call upon the state legislature to pass the bill and the governor, Brian Kemp, to pass the bill into law. Passing the bill and signing it into law will be beneficial to public health in the state. I urge the representatives that introduced the bill into the state legislature to gather support for the bill from other representatives. The bill has the capacity to improve public health by increasing access to care and reducing barriers to quality care. Such barriers include a shortage of qualified healthcare professionals, longer waiting periods to access primary care providers, additional costs such as transport expenses due to the need to travel for long-distance access to a primary care provider. The effects of granting advanced practice nurses full practice authority cannot be underestimated as it is estimated at an international level. For example, the efficiency of greater utilization of advanced nurse practitioners is highly recognized, with the professionals existing in approximately 70% of worldwide health care systems. Full practice authority for advanced nurse practitioners has been associated with increased patient satisfaction, cost-effeteness, better control of chronic diseases, decreased waiting times, and other outcomes (Htay & Whitehead, 2021). Passing the bill into law will therefore have a significant impact on health and health outcomes in the state.
The HB 213 legislation is a current bill that has been presented by six representatives and seeks to expand the scope of practice for advanced practice nurses and physician assistants by allowing them to practice to the full extent of their training. The healthcare industry is currently facing a shortage of primary care providers. Predictions indicate that the shortage will worsen in a few years hence the need to create effective solutions to the problem. The marginalized group affected by the shortage are medically underserved populations. Georgia has a high number of medically underserved populations, yet it is among the state with restrictive practices for advanced nurses. I support the bill and urge the relevant bodies and individuals to support and pass the bill into law to improve public health. The bill will have a significant impact on public health and health outcomes in the state.
Heiser, S. (2021). AAMC Report Reinforces Mounting Physician Shortage. Retrieved from https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/press-releases/aamc-report-reinforces-mounting-physician-shortage
Htay, M., & Whitehead, D. (2021). The effectiveness of The Role of Advanced Nurse Practitioners Compared to Physician-Led or Usual Care: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Nursing Studies Advances, 3, 100034.
Keohn, M. (2021). Loyola Medicine Joins Nationwide Efforts to Address Critical Shortages of Operating Room Nurses.
Ortiz, J., Hofler, R., Bushy, A., Lin, Y. L., Khanijahani, A., & Bitney, A. (2018, June). Impact of Nurse Practitioner Practice Regulations on Rural Population Health Outcomes. In Healthcare (Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 65). Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute. https://www.mdpi.com/305296
Sweeney, T. (2016). Prescribing Remedies for Georgia’s Medical Provider Shortage. Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. http://gbpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Medical-Provider-Shortage.pdf