Basic healthcare is critical to everyone. Unfortunately, here in Ohio, 45 percent — nearly half of all patients — do not even have adequate access to primary care services. With some of the world’s best hospital facilities here in our state, it’s hard to believe that Ohio ranks just 36th in healthcare quality, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Unfortunately, Ohio’s outdated regulatory structure requiring Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to sign a contract with a physician in order to practice contributes significantly to our healthcare shortcomings. This contract, known as the “Standard Care Arrangement,” requires that APRNs pay a fee to physicians in exchange for a periodic review of their medical charts. Far from providing a benefit to patients, this contract has become a deterrent to APRNs wishing to practice here in Ohio and in turn a barrier to care for patients across the state.
It’s time for Ohio’s lawmakers to eliminate this outdated regulation and join with 22 other states and the District of Columbia that have passed legislation that provides patients with direct access to high-quality APRN care. It’s no coincidence that eight of the top 10 states for healthcare quality allow APRNs to practice without physician contracts.
Granting the same to Ohio’s APRNs will help increase access to care across the state — especially in rural areas where patients must either travel long distances for care or forgo care altogether.
Ohio can and must do better, and it’s time we call on our state legislature to take action.
Douglas C. Caserta, FNP-BC, CNP, APRN
Family Nurse Practitioner