Impact of State Scope of Practice Laws and Other Factors on the Practice and Supply of Primary Care Nurse Practitioners

November 16, 2015

This project explored the effects of nurse practitioner (NP) scope of practice (SOP) legislation on the distribution and practice patterns of NPs as well as their billing practices. The goal was to understand where and how NPs are practicing, identify barriers that limit the degree to which NPs are practicing to the full extent of their education and training, and to inform policymakers as they seek to remove barriers in order to fully utilize NP to support healthcare delivery in the United States. In addition to background preparation including conducting an environmental scan and convening a Technical Expert Panel, this project included two main components: qualitative case studies, and quantitative data analyses.

Results of this study suggest that SOP is an important driver of many practice outcomes for NPs. The results suggest that states could take better advantage of the broad capacities of NPs by loosening SOP restrictions and considering other policy levers available including addressing organizational practices, education and training, and evaluating billing practices and the rates at which NPs are reimbursed compared to their physician colleagues.

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