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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Senate Votes to Expand Role of Nurse Practitioners

By Arielle Levin Becker

www.ctmirror.org

The Connecticut state Senate voted 25 to 11 tonight to allow nurse practitioners to practice independent of physicians, a controversial concept that has gained traction amid growing concerns about the availability of primary care providers in the state.

The proposal, which now goes to the House, originated in Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration, which pitched it as a way to increase access to primary care at lower costs as thousands more state residents gain insurance as part of the federal health law.

But critics have raised concerns about the effects the change could have on patient care and primary care physicians.

The ability of nurse practitioners to work independent of doctors has long been a contentious matter between the two professions. Connecticut law required nurse practitioners to be supervised by doctors until 1999, when legislators loosened the requirement, calling instead for nurse practitioners to work “in collaboration” with a physician.

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