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New nurse practitioners bill introduced

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Posted at 6:02 PM, Apr 20, 2023

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Have you ever tried to schedule a doctor's appointment and been told their next available day is months away? One state lawmaker from El Paso has a solution.

In most cases, patients go to their doctor's appointments and visit with a nurse practitioner. In turn, that nurse practitioner reports back to the doctor.

This can be time-consuming for the patient and slow down the nurse practitioner who still needs to see other patients.

But state Senator Cesar Blanco has proposed a bill that would allow nurse practitioners to treat patients without having to report to a doctor.

In 2019, Maria Pruneda has diagnosed with stage four lymphoma and went into remission the following year.

Her battle with cancer led to monthly doctor visits. During those visits, Pruneda was seen by a nurse practitioner.

" I think he was the one that saved my life," Pruneda said.

In fact, she recently met her primary doctor for the first time.

Currently, advanced practice registered nurses or APRNs are required to check in monthly with a physician. They also have to wait for a doctor's approval before prescribing new medications or treatments.

Senate Bill 1700, The Healthcare Expanded and Accessed Locally for Texans Act would potentially get rid of this hurdle.

Cindy Weston, the president of the Texas nurse practitioners association said the removal of this requirement would help the medical field.

"By removing this requirement in Texas, it would improve primary care access and lower the primary care worker shortage by a third," Weston said.

Ilania Reyes is a nurse practitioner at QC Clinic and Labs she said her workdays can be very busy.

On average, Reyes sees between 20 to 30 patients a day.

If the bill passes, she would be able to help more patients in need.

"The problem is getting into seeing a physician is a long wait time, nurse practitioners are ready, and we are armed to serve our communities and people like me even here in Corpus."

Senate Bill 1700 was passed by the house health and human services committee in early March and is now being reviewed by the Senate committee.

The end of the legislative session is just five weeks away.

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