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May 24, 2019

Nurses and Nurse Practitioners Would Play a Bigger Role in NC’s Health-Care System

Nurses and nurse practitioners would play a bigger role in North Carolina’s health-care system under some new legislation. A bipartisan bill that has the support of more than 60 state lawmakers would make access to basic health-care services easier by cutting red tape for advanced-practice nurses and nurse practitioners. Senator Ralph Hise of Spruce Pine says he introduced Senate Bill 143 so that nurses can provide more primary-care services in areas that need it most. A companion bill (House Bill 185) in the House is being carried by Representative Josh Dobson. Critics have pointed out that nurse practitioners receive less training than doctors and may not be fully prepared to work without a doctor’s supervision. But Hise says the need is great. Rural North Carolina has higher rates of drug and alcohol use, suicide and teen births, plus more uninsured patients and preventable hospitalizations. These areas also face a shortage of almost every type of provider. Twenty counties in the state don’t have a pediatrician and 26 don’t have an OB-GYN, according to the North Carolina Health Professions Data System. Hise said the bills don’t change what nurses are allowed to do, but lets them work within their current scope without unnecessary restrictions.

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