Updated Jan. 25 at 3:45 p.m.
A bill to address health care provider shortages in Indiana was heard by a Senate committee Wednesday. The proposal would allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses or APRNs to enter independent practice.
Right now, APRNs in Indiana need to be in a partnership with a physician to operate as a primary care provider who can prescribe. Lawmakers heard testimony on a bill that would allow private practice after a one-year partnership.
Angie Thompson, a family nurse practitioner, supports the bill and says removal of barriers would not impact quality of care.
"It is our duty to consult and refer to other health care providers based on our patients and families needs are we are held accountable," says Thompson.
Former Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Richard Feldman says APRNs are not prepared to reliably recognize many clinical situations.
"There is a danger in not recognizing what one does not know through inadequate training and experience," Feldman says.
The Indiana Hospital Association supported the bill, but suggested increasing the partnership to three years.
APRNs are allowed to practice independently in 22 states and the District of Columbia.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said the proposal would allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses or APRNs to enter independent medical practice. That was incorrect. It would give an APRN the ability to practice independently, still under the scope of nurse practitioner and not as a medical doctor.