JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Nurse practitioners continue to advocate for less restrictions, even after a new law lifted some this year.
Missouri's governor is honoring nurse practitioners as new law eases restrictions on their practice. Gov. Mike Parson on Monday proclaimed this week, Nov. 12 through 18, as Nurse Practitioners Week in Missouri. A new law that went into effect this year allows nurse practitioners working in hospice to prescribe some medications.
Even after a new law was signed this year, some nurse practitioners said they'll continue to advocate for full practice during the 2024 legislative session.
Parson signed Senate Bill 157 into law this summer, which eases restrictions, but still requires nurse practitioners to meet with a collaborative physician once a week. The law also allows nurse practitioners to communicate with their physician through alternative means, such as a video call.
"But we're having trouble getting that implemented. So you had to file a waiver. And so far all the waivers that have been requested have been denied," said Margaret Benz, who is with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.
Parson said he supports nurse practitioners and told them in his office Monday the bureaucratic tape is unnecessary.
"We need to do everything we can to provide that service and not get in the way with the bureaucracy side of it," Parson told ABC 17 News.
Missouri is one of 11 states that required nurse practitioners to have a collaborative practice agreement, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Those in the field advocated for it, claiming it would allow better treatment for patients in underserved rural areas, where it may be difficult to get a physician.
The hope is that the new law will help with low health-care staffing across the state, something that is still prevalent according to the Missouri Hospital Association's 2023 Workforce Report.
In 2021, Missouri experienced record-high turnover and vacant health care positions. The report showed an improvement in 2022, but it was still higher than usual.