Improving Health Care Quality & Access
Today the Idaho State Senate passed SB 1240, legislation meant to further Idaho Senate Republicans’ commitment to reducing unnecessary regulation while improving the quality and access to health care in Idaho’s communities.
In 2004, Idaho was the first state in the nation to remove physician oversight and authorize nurse practitioners to practice independently. The number of nurse practitioners in our state has grown steadily since that time, and there are now 1,700 nurse practitioners comprising 40% of Idaho’s total primary care providers, who offer high-quality, cost-effective health care throughout the state. Currently, a number of Idaho’s rural communities depend solely on the care of nurse practitioners for their primary health care.
SB 1240 removes barriers for these nurse practitioners to help their patients complete routine health care paperwork without requiring a physician’s signature. This legislation reduces the “red tape” for patients and allows them to finalize important health care documents without having to drive hours away to another community where an unfamiliar physician would be necessary to sign documents for a patient to receive a disabled hunting permit, permanent jury duty exemption, workers compensation certification, student inhaler, life insurance policy, and other such documents.
Senator Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’ Alene, who presented the bill on the Senate floor stated, “This bill will aid in meeting the demands of our growing population and primary care provider shortage while improving access to health care for Idahoans.”