Massachusetts 23rd state to grant nurse practitioners full practice authority

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation that allows nurse practitioners to practice independently Jan. 1, making it the 23rd state to adopt full practice authority. 

The law makes permanent earlier executive orders that temporarily expanded the scope of practice for several types of practitioners amid the pandemic. 

Full practice authority enables nurse practitioners to "evaluate patients, diagnose, order and interpret diagnostic tests and initiate and manage treatments, including prescribe medications," according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. 

"Research shows that states with Full Practice Authority maintain strong safety and quality outcomes and improve both access to care and cost savings" said Sophia Thomas, DNP, AANP president. "Massachusetts is the latest state to embrace a better care delivery model that recognizes NPs as part of the solution for addressing healthcare needs." 

The legislation also expands telehealth coverage and requires all Massachusetts insurance carriers to cover COVID-19 services, among other provisions. 

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