Nebraska Governor Nixes Nurse Practitioner Independence Bill

A bill that would have eliminated the need for Nebraska nurse practitioners to have a practice agreement with a physician was vetoed by Gov. Dave Heineman Tuesday.

The bill had been approved by the Nebraska Senate in a unanimous vote, and two state review panels had endorsed the proposal, according to an Omaha World-Herald report. In his veto message, Gov. Heineman said the bill went "too far, too quickly," according to the report. The bill would have required new NPs to gain 2,000 hours of experience under a physician or experienced NP, but Gov. Heineman said he would have signed the bill if it had been 4,000 hours.

Supporters of the bill, like the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, were upset about the governor's veto. AANP's Co-Presidents, Angela Golden and Ken Miller, said in a news release they are "extremely disheartened that Nebraskans will continue to face challenges accessing care from their nurse practitioner workforce due to outdated state regulations."

Previously, Nebraska's CMO and director of the state's Division of Public Health, Joseph Acierno, MD, had spoken out against the bill, citing patient safety concerns. Kevin Nohner, MD, president of the Nebraska Medical Association, supported the governor's veto, according to the World-Herald.

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