FTC: Limiting APRNs' Scope of Practice Reduces Competition

State legislators should carefully consider proposals that limit the scope of practice for advanced practice registered nurses, as limiting their range of independent practice can reduce competition, according to an FTC staff paper.

The policy paper, "Policy Perspectives: Competition and the Regulation of Advanced Practice Nurses," cites studies outlining that APRNs provide safe effective care and that APRNs can alleviate healthcare access issues stemming from physician shortages.

"Even well-intentioned laws and regulations may impose unnecessary, unintended, or overbroad restrictions on competition, thereby depriving healthcare consumers of the benefits of vigorous competition," the paper states. "Expanded APRN scope of practice is good for competition and the American consumers."

Currently, 24 states have requirements for physician involvement when nurse practitioners are diagnosing and treating patients, according to Kaiser Family Foundation's State Health Facts. Several states, like Florida, are discussing legislation that would expand APRN's scope of practice. Earlier this year, the FTC weighed in on a Massachusetts bill that would permit nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists to issue prescriptions and order tests and therapeutics without physician supervision, saying the bill would benefit competition in the state.

The new policy paper is part of the FTC's ongoing efforts to promote healthcare competition, thus benefiting consumers through lower cost, better care and more innovation, according to an FTC news release.

More Articles on APRNs:
Whatever You Want to Think About Nurse Practitioners, There's a Survey to Back It Up
Veterans Health Administration May Let APRNs Practice Without Physician Oversight
FTC: Removing Supervision Requirements for APRNs Would Boost Competition in Massachusetts

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