Marginalized communities benefit when NPs have full practice authority, study finds

A study by West Virginia University researchers found that more people of color become nurse practitioners and go on to serve people in marginalized communities when they are working in a state with full practice authority.

The study, published in Policy, Politics and Nursing Practice on Dec. 8, found the nurse practitioner workforce has higher concentrations of practitioners from communities of color in states with full practice authority. Black nurse practitioners in full practice authority states served 2.8 percent more Black medicare beneficiaries than Black nurse practitioners in other states.

"Nearly 82 percent of NPs will specialize in primary care. And while the number of physicians entering the workforce is declining, the per capita supply of NPs has grown significantly," lead author Alicia Plemmons, PhD, assistant professor at WVU's John Chambers College of Business and Economics, said in a Jan. 17 news release. "Full practice authority is a costless way of helping communities of color address health care access disparities."

Dr. Plemmons said she is aware of "roughly 50 studies using combinations of Medicare and private insurance data to observe quality, access and cost outcomes when patients are served by nurse practitioners rather than physicians. The overwhelming majority find no effect, or find improvements, in terms of increased access and lower costs."

When a state permits nurse practitioners to exercise full practice authority, they can serve as primary care providers, performing a full range of duties they are qualified for without physician supervision. Physician supervision contracts can range from $75 to $4,000 a month, the release said.

However, many states continue to limit nurse practitioners' practice authority due to patient safety concerns.

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars