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Gallegos Testifies in Support of Senate Bill

On March 23, 2015, SB15-197 was introduced into the House of the Colorado General Assembly.  The bill would allow advanced practice nurses to obtain full prescriptive authority after 1,000 practice hours and would receive provisional prescriptive authority immediately.  Earlier this week, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law. 

Before the bill's passage, advanced practice nursing candidates are required to complete 1,800 practice hours to obtain provisional prescriptive authority and then an additional 1,800 hours to obtain full prescriptive authority.

Kelly Gallegos, Conejos County Hospital Administrator, testified before the Assembly and offered San Luis Valley Health’s support of the bill.

Gallegos noted in testimony, “Our organization serves the 8,200 citizens of Conejos County, a vast, family oriented and largely agricultural community in southern Colorado. Nurse practitioners provide over 50% of the primary health care to our community and are key to expanding access and enhancing population health.

Like many rural hospitals and clinics, we are constantly working on recruiting and retaining primary care providers.  Our system is a symbiotic relationship of physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. However, it is becoming far more difficult to recruit and employ nurse practitioners due to the restrictions placed on new graduates. These restrictions decrease access to our patients because they slow patient flow, add extra administrative burden to our physicians and prohibit NPs from practicing at the top of their licensure. 

On behalf of SLV Health, we fully support SB 15-197 because:

  1. The bill reduces the requirement to achieve full prescriptive authority to 1,000 practice hours.
  2.  The bill allows the role of mentor to be filled by an advanced practice nurse with prescriptive authority and the same role and population focus as the applicant – some of our clinics are staffed primarily with experienced nurse practitioners who would be willing to serve as mentors.
  3. Current law prescribes the applicant's interaction with the preceptor and the mentor. The bills allows synchronous remote collaboration during the mentorship.
  4. The bill allows provisional prescriptive authority upon graduation and passage of the certification examination.

The new provisions still allow for collaboration and mentorship for a new graduate NP but empower them to work more effectively in our system and with our patients. Being able to attract and retain nurse practitioners in our community will ensure we continue to provide safe, quality, patient-centered care to our patients.  The provisions in this bill allow our providers to focus on what is important - the patient and improving our community’s health.”