Urges stop to petitions - Catholic Courier

Urges stop to petitions

To the editor:

As a practicing Catholic and president-elect of the Medical Society of the State of New York, I am writing regarding the "Nurse Practitioner Modernization Act", (A.5308/S.3289) that would eliminate the requirement for a collaborative agreement and practice protocols between a nurse practitioner and a physician in New York state. The collaborative-agreement requirement was made part of the Nurse Practice Act, enacted in 1987 in order to ensure that patients receive the best possible care and that care provided by a nurse practitioner does not exceed what he or she is educated and trained to do safely.

While I understand that there are physician shortages in some parts of New York state, and nurse practitioners claim that they can provide care for the patients in those areas, the fact is that nurse practitioners do not go into underserved areas to practice any more than physicians do.

The petitions being circulated by some dioceses in New York urging parishioners to support of the bill are giving misinformation to parishioners. They are being told that this bill addresses mental health access and would allow nurse practitioners who have psychiatric training to practice without a collaborative agreement. In fact, the bill allows ALL nurse practitioners to practice independently without a collaborative agreement. This is an effort that has been underway for many years by the nurse practitioners. While most nurse practitioners recognize the importance of the collaborative relationship with a physician, some do not want to be tethered to a physician and want to be reimbursed directly by insurance companies. Although nurse practitioners are important parts of the health care team, there are things which are beyond their training and education and about which they need to ask their collaborating physician.

This legislation has risks of both decreasing the quality of care and increasing the cost, with no proof that it will improve access.

I urge those circulating these petitions to stop doing so and to withdraw their support for this bill. It is not in the best interest of our patients.

Robert J. Hughes, MD, FACS
President-Elect Medical Society of the State of New York

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