Missouri legislature looking to lift some regulations for advanced practice registered nurses

Healthcare in Missouri can be hard to access quickly, which is why state legislators are looking for ways to fix that.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 5:08 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Health care in Missouri can be hard to access quickly, between wait times and doctor shortages.

It’s a problem people continue to face across the state.

State legislators are looking for ways to fix that and loosen regulations to allow nurses to provide more care.

There’s debate in both the Missouri House and Senate on bills that would give Advanced Practice Registered Nurses the ability to provide more care to patients.

State Senator Nick Schroer describes Senate Bill 79 as regulatory reform by putting healthcare of Missourians in the forefront.

“Healthcare outcomes, healthcare access and the cost of healthcare is pretty poor for Missourians,” Senator Schroer says. “When you look at 109 of the counties in the state in the state of Missouri, 109 out of 114 have primary care shortages. When you look at all of the counties, 114 have mental health primary care shortages.”

Regulations around APRN’s were lifted during the pandemic to expand resources and now there are attempts to make that permanent.

“It’s going to allow people to get the care that they need,” Senator Schroer says.

Senate Bill 79 and House Bill 271are both moving to floor’s for debate after passing out of committee.

Dozens of states across the country have similar laws in place, including Illinois which has had this law since 2018.

VP of integrated care for Chestnut Health Systems Amy Gibbar has been in charge of nurses across the bi-state for more than two decades.

Gibbar says if these bills pass in Missouri, it would allow them to prescribe mediation, including controlled substances, and expand care to rural areas.

“Missouri has a law that requires that a nurse practitioner practice within so many miles with the physician that’s collaborating,” Gibbar says. “That is really an out of date law because so many services now are provided through telehealth.”

It’s also something Gibbar says she has experienced firsthand with her son in Missouri.

During the pandemic, Gibbar had access to mental health care for her son quickly.

When the regulations were put back in place, he lost access to his provider.

“It took me months to find someone that could take over the care for my child and as a mother that didn’t feel very good not to be able to find services easily,” Gibbar says.

News 4 will follow these bills as they go through session.