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A Widely Supported Solution to Healthcare Shortages

By Caleb Taylor

How diverse is the support for allowing nurse practitioners to practice up to their level of training? 

The consensus that nurse practitioners should be allowed to do more is “widespread,” according to a “A Broad Consensus on Expanding Nurse Practitioners’ Scope of Practice,” by ACRE Director and UCA Associate Professor of Economics Dr. David Mitchell.

Mitchell writes:

Arkansas, like many states, faces a growing shortage of primary care physicians. However, other states are ahead of us in dealing with this problem by empowering nurse practitioners to provide more primary care services. Currently, Arkansans are restrained from getting care and services that our nurse practitioners have already been expertly trained in. These are procedures patients need and nurse practitioners are trained to provide. 

The consensus that nurse practitioners can safely do more is widespread.”

According to Mitchell, groups part of this consensus include:

You can read the rest of “A Broad Consensus on Expanding Nurse Practitioners’ Scope of Practice” here.

For more on the topic, check out our one-pager infographic.

You can read another of Mitchell’s recent publications on this issue “Addressing Arkansas’s Health Services Shortages By Empowering Nurse Practitioners” here.

Mitchell spoke before both the House and Senate Public Health, Welfare, and Labor committees on February 20 and February 26, 2019 about the need for increased scope of practice for nurse practitioners in Arkansas.

Members of the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor committee considered Senate Bill 189 sponsored by Senator Dave Wallace. You can watch the livestream of the committee meeting here. Members of the House Public Health, Welfare and Labor committee considered House Bill 1282 sponsored by Representative Robin Lundstrum. You can watch the livestream of the committee meeting here.

Both bills failed narrowly in committee, but this legislation will likely be deliberated on again in the current legislative session in 2021.  

For more of ACRE’s research on nurse practitioners, check out our labor market regulation page.

Mitchell is also the co-author with Jordan Pfaff and Zachary Helms of an ACRE Policy Brief  entitled “Solving Arkansas’s Primary Care Problems by Empowering Nurse Practitioners.