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Kansas Nurse Practitioners Gain Full Practice Authority

Kansas joins 25 other states, the District of Columbia, and two US territories in adopting full practice authority (FPA) legislation.

Kansas is the latest in an expanding number of states giving full practice authority to nurse practitioners (NPs), according to an announcement from Kansas Governor Laura Kelly.

The bipartisan bill signed by Governor Kelly will eliminate what she said are outdated regulatory barriers that have previously restricted the scope of practice for NPs, improving patient access to healthcare.

Kansas is now the second state in 2022 and the 26th state in the nation to adopt FPA. The Kansas legislation was signed shortly after New York officially expanded the scope of practice for nurse practitioners.

With full practice authority (FPA), NPs are allowed to order diagnostic tests, manage treatments, and prescribe medications without physician supervision.

Leading health policy experts like the National Academy of Medicine recommend states grant nurse practitioners a wider scope of practice to better healthcare access and patient outcomes.

“This law is a necessary step toward eliminating healthcare disparities, managing costs, and building the healthcare workforce for Kansas," Jon Fanning, chief executive officer of AANP, said in the public statement.

“States that have adopted Full Practice Authority are better positioned to address these critical issues. Today, patients in most states have full and direct access to NPs and these benefits,” Fanning added. “We call on the remaining states to follow suit and modernize their licensure laws to ensure patients have full and direct access to high-quality, nurse practitioner-delivered care.”

Kansans face serious primary care and mental health access challenges due to severe primary care shortages.  HRSA data showed that as of 2021, nearly 781,000 Kansas residents live in a federally designated primary care health professional shortage area where only half of the need for primary care services is met.

Nationwide, patients are dealing with a primary care shortage, and patient demand for primary care is only increasing. Currently, 13 percent of US patients live in a county with a primary care shortage. What’s more, more primary care providers will retire as time goes on.

This expanded scope of practice will make it easier for patients to meet with a primary care clinician, reducing the clinician shortage by 70 percent.

“This is a major milestone in healthcare for Kansas and for our nation,” said April N. Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP- BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, president of AANP. "We celebrate as Kansas becomes the 26th state to grant patients full and direct access to nurse practitioners' care.”

“The majority of states have now adopted this legislative model, known as Full Practice Authority. We thank Gov Kelly and the legislature for prioritizing patients and taking action to improve healthcare in the Sunflower State,” Kapu stated.

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