Healthcare workforce and patient access bill passed in rare show of bipartisan support; Gov. Hickenlooper to sign May 18

DENVER (May 15, 2015) – Gov. John Hickenlooper will sign SB15-197 -- “Concerning the prescriptive authority of advanced practice nurses,” -- which was passed by the General Assembly in a rare show of bipartisan support. Once signed into law, much-needed access to healthcare could increase across Colorado as the bill will put nurses to work faster by reducing the requirements for advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) to obtain prescriptive authority. Colorado will now join other states in national best practice standards, which have shown that access to healthcare is expanded without compromises to patient safety.
The Governor will be joined by members of the Nurse Physician Task Force for Colorado Healthcare (NPATCH), which recommended and supported the changes after more than a year of study and research. Legislators and stakeholders reached across traditional lines to support the bill in the spirit of healthcare access, including physicians, nurses, hospitals, consumers and other key stakeholders in the healthcare arena. With states like New Mexico making it no secret of its intentions to recruit nurses from surrounding states, this bill is an example of responsible, proactive bipartisanship to support what’s right for Coloradans and the APRN workforce.
  • Increases Workforce and Access to Care: Access to primary care providers is a critical healthcare priority for Colorado. As many as 220,000 Coloradans gained insurance coverage following the expansion of Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. The shortage of healthcare providers particularly affects patients in rural and underserved urban communities. Coupled by an aging population with increased demand for primary care, Colorado needs all healthcare providers to practice to the top of their license and training in order to fulfill the State’s healthcare needs.
  • Reduces Regulatory Burden: Despite the healthcare workforce shortage, Colorado’s regulatory burden for advanced practice nurses was an outlier among other states. Although Colorado, like many western states, allows APRNs to achieve independent prescriptive authority (not dependent on a physician), Colorado required 3,600 practice hours to do so. Other western states require zero practice hours. New Mexico requires 400 practice hours. Colorado was the only one of these states that did not permit an APRN to get provisional prescriptive authority immediately upon graduation and passage of certification exam. As a result, neighboring states were recruiting away Colorado’s APRNs.
  • Solution: SB15-197 alleviates some of the regulatory burden for nurses to obtain prescriptive authority by reducing the practice hours requirement from 3,600 to 1,000 hours and providing provisional prescriptive authority upon graduation and exam passage, among other changes. 

WHAT: Governor John Hickenlooper will join lawmakers and the Nurse Physician Task Force for Colorado Healthcare (NPATCH) to sign SB15-197, “Concerning the prescriptive authority of advanced practice nurses,” sponsored by Senators Crowder and Jahn and Representatives Fields and Willet.

WHEN: Monday, May 18, 2015, 10:15 a.m.

WHERE: Metro Community Provider Network (MCPN)/Jeffco Family Health Services Center 7495 W. 29th Ave Wheat Ridge, CO 80033

MEDIA INTERVIEWS: Nurses, physicians, NPATCH members, as well as regulatory experts administering the State Board of Nursing and Colorado Medical Board, will be available for interviews.

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Media Contact:
Cory Everett
Division of Professions and Occupations
p: 303-894-2913303-260-8639