Tuesday, February 10, 2015

States Benefit from Increased Autonomy for Nurses

States that allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to practice independently saw an improvement in health outcomes for patients and decreases in costs to Medicare and Medicaid, according to a study by researchers at the Missouri University Sinclair School of Nursing, Nurse.com reports.

The study, “Impact of Nurse Practitioners on Health Outcomes of Medicare and Medicaid Patients,” was published in the November-December issue of Nursing Outlook. Researchers analyzed previous studies with data on Medicare and Medicaid patients and found that states with full practice of nurse practitioners have lower hospitalization rates in all of the groups examined.

An INQRI-funded study, "Scope-Of-Practice Laws For Nurse Practitioners Limit Cost Savings That Can Be Achieved In Retail Clinics,” found similar cost savings at retail clinics in states where nurses had more independence. The study, co-led by Joanne Spetz and Stephen Parente, found that visits to nurse-managed retail clinics were associated with lower costs, and the costs were even lower when Nurse Practitioners (NPs) practiced independently. The researchers concluded that eliminating restrictions on NPs’ scope of practice could have a large impact on the cost savings that can be achieved by retail clinics.

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