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Health Care Law Alert: Governor Dannel Malloy's Proposed Bill on APRNs

Governor Dannel Malloy's Proposed Bill on APRNs

February 26, 2014

Governor Dannel P. Malloy and his administration have been busy in 2014 seeking to have a bill passed which would allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), or nurse practitioners, to treat patients and prescribe medications independently of physicians.

At present, Connecticut law, pursuant to General Statutes Section 20-87a, requires APRNs to "collaborate with a physician licensed to practice medicine in the state." S.B. No. 36, An Act Concerning the Governor's Recommendations to Improve Access to Health Care, would change this. The bill proposes that APRNs would be required to collaborate with a physician for the first three years after having been issued a license. Following this three year period, an APRN would be allowed to work independently. The proposed bill also allows APRNs the option of continuing to work in collaboration with a state-licensed physician after the three year period passes.

The goal of the proposed bill can be found directly in the title, to provide Connecticut patients better and increased access to primary health care. The proposed bill seeks to confront the anticipated shortage of primary care doctors in Connecticut.       

States differ on whether APRNs are allowed to work independently of physicians. If Governor Malloy's bill passes, Connecticut will join seventeen other states and Washington D.C. which allow APRNs to treat patients and prescribe medications independently of a physician. The collaborative model currently followed in Connecticut is also followed in twenty other states. A third option, followed in twelve states, implements a restricted practice system in which an APRN is supervised or managed.

The proposed bill was referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health on February 7, 2014. There is a public hearing scheduled for this upcoming Friday on February 28th at 10:30 a.m. in Room 1D of the Legislative Office Building [300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT]. As this proposed bill would fundamentally change the relationship between APRNs and physicians, its progress through the Connecticut Legislature is certainly worth watching.

For more information, contact Kristin Connors at 203-578-4202 or kconnors@carmodylaw.com or Mariella LaRosa at 203-575-2654 or mlarosa@carmodylaw.com.