As experts in pediatrics and advocates for children, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) applauds the Massachusetts state legislature and Governor Charlie Baker for the enactment of bill S. 2984, appropriately titled “An Act Promoting A Resilient Health Care System that Puts Patients First.” This new law meets the standard benchmarks for full practice authority as detailed in the Consensus Model and acknowledged by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners as well as the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. This legislation provides full and direct access to a patient’s healthcare provider of choice, including the more than 12,000 advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) licensed in Massachusetts, and is a win for families in the state.
The success of bill S. 2984 stems from the commitment of the Massachusetts legislators to follow through on Governor Baker’s previously issued COVID-19 waiver which temporarily removed barriers to nurse practitioner care provided in the state. This action allowed immediate access to high quality, evidence-based, affordable care for Massachusetts residents. Recognizing the excellent care patients immediately received and the stellar patient outcomes in the months that followed, this emergency waiver is now state law.
Massachusetts becomes the 23rd state to gain this health care achievement for patients, in addition to Washington D.C., Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. There are many other states that have had recent successes with bills achieving barrier reductions for patient access to care, and NAPNAP applauds steps made toward full and direct access to care. We encourage legislators in states with reduced or restricted APRN practice to look at patient outcomes in states with no barriers for APRNs. The imperative to leverage all resources in the health care system to their full extent has never been more critical. Nurses, ranked as the most trusted profession by the American public every year by Gallup, have proved to be an indispensable resource in the COVID-19 pandemic response and have found innovative pathways to meet real patients with real needs in real 21st century times.
NAPNAP extends our sincere congratulations to the Massachusetts state legislature and the nearly seven million Massachusetts residents, of which approximately 20% are children. We also wish to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of NAPNAP volunteer chapter leaders and members who have worked tirelessly as advocates in the state to showcase the excellent care that pediatric nurse practitioners and other advanced practice providers give to Massachusetts children. Dedicated members such as Julianne Nemes Walsh and Amy Delaney have remained steadfast in their commitment to barrier reduction for almost a decade to see this law passed. NAPNAP is committed to working with external partners and stakeholders to ensure all children have full and direct access to affordable, high-quality health care provided by pediatric-focused APRNs. Our mission is to empower these APRNs and key partners to optimize child health, and we will continue to do so.
Jan. 8, 2021