Forum: Insist our representatives represent us


The time has come to insist that our state representatives truly represent us.

One year ago — one entire year — the Michigan Senate passed Senate Bill 2, SB2. This legislation defines the scope of practice for nurse practitioners in Michigan. Most importantly, it removes barriers for individuals and families in Michigan to receive quality health care. And that’s the key — SB2 is about the health of our families.

Nurse practitioners — there are more than 5,500 NPs across Michigan (192,000 nationwide) — are certified, expert clinicians with advanced education and extensive clinical preparation. They provide primary, acute and specialty health care services for patients, assisting in alleviating the anticipated shortage of health care providers in this state.

Last year, SB2 was referred to the House Health Policy Committee for review.

It’s been a long year with little action.

House Health Policy Committee Chair Rep. Gail Haines has failed to respond to repeated requests to meet with her own constituents to discuss the importance of this bill. And now she also does not intend to schedule a committee meeting to bring SB2 up for a vote in the few remaining days of the Michigan’s legislative session, which would make bill passage very unlikely this year.

This disinterest from Haines in representing constituents — at a time that important legislation is being discussed — can be detrimental. But we won’t be deterred. The Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners (MICNP) and the other members of the Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) Coalition are committed to advocating for SB2 until the last possible moment, but we need your help now.

Why? Because Michigan families need this legislation passed now.

More than 40 years of research that has proven that APRNs are high quality, cost effective health care providers. In the 19 states and the District of Columbia, where APRNs have autonomous practice regulations, outcomes are equal to or better than those of physicians. Further, it has been shown that states that provide an APRN scope of practice reflective of their education, experience and certifications have increased patient access to health care.

The bill, which allows for nurse practitioners to diagnose and treat patients without direct physician supervision, comes at a very — very — important time. The measure is needed to ensure that quality care is available to the citizens of our community. It is especially essential given Michigan’s physician shortage and increased demand for care that comes with an aging population and additional people with insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Please join the 5,500 APRNs in Michigan to call for a vote on SB2 in the House Health Policy Committee, and give it due process by sending it to the full House to consider — it is the right thing to do for Michigan patients.

When representatives do not represent constituents we must NOT give up. Instead, we must try harder. We must be vocal, and insist that our representatives represent us.

About the author: Nancy M. George has been a nurse practitioner for nearly 20 years. She has a bachelor’s of science degree from Michigan Technological University and a registered nurse diploma from the Bronson School of Nursing in Kalamazoo. She also holds a master’s of science degree in community health nursing and a doctoral degree in nursing from the University of Michigan; she is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Nursing at Wayne State University

About the forum: The forum is a periodic column of opinion written by Record-Eagle readers in their areas of expertise. Submissions of 500 words or less may be made by emailing letters@record-eagle. com. Please include biographical information and a photo.

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