Open Letter on SB 351 to Georgia Sen. Bill Cowsert by local nurse

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Thursday, February 15, 2018
Dear Senator Cowsert:

The legislation SB 351, which addresses the potential expansion of the advanced practice registered nurse regarding roles and restrictions, is of paramount interest to me because I am an adult care nurse practitioner student enrolled in a Georgia-based University who will be graduating this December. I grew up in rural Georgia and raised triplets in rural Georgia. I would like to serve any rural community as an adult care nurse practitioner. This issue directly impacts my future abilities to provide primary care to those in need in rural Georgia, some of which have no access to primary care. I am writing to you in support of this Senate Bill being passed today.
I’m primarily concerned about the overall health of the people who live in my community and their access to healthcare. According to the Georgia Department of Community Health, Walton County, Georgia falls under both an HPSA, which is the Health Professional Shortage Area as well as a MUA/P, which is a Medically Underserved Area and Population. This provides evidence for the need to pass Senate Bill 351, which will allow nurse practitioners to independently provide health care to rural communities with a population of 50,000 or less, using the United States 2010 census as a guideline to determine such population.
Over 58 million Americans reside in geographical areas or belong to population groups that are considered to have primary care shortages, according to The Kaiser Family Foundation. More and more states are taking action to expand the role of the nurse practitioner in primary care. In a recent report by Tim Weldon, a health policy analyst for the Council of State Governments, Georgia shows less than 200 physicians per 100,000 people. On a national level, this is being remedied with the offering of J-1 Visas to non-Americans to serve our communities as well as the use of telemedicine (Weldon, 2008). I am not an advocate of telemedicine because I believe a hands-on approach provides the best outcome for a patient. I also think that employing Americans who are qualified for a job position, such as a local nurse practitioner, should be considered before seeking providers from outside the US.
Another important factor to consider when you go to vote is money. When people do not have access to primary care, they do not receive the preventative care needed to stay healthy. This lands more and more adults and children into emergency rooms, some of which are uninsured/underinsured, costing tax payers more money. Nurse practitioners are excellent educators and they spend time teaching people how to care for themselves and stay healthy. I am asking you to consider the cost of healthcare that can be prevented by allowing nurse practitioners to do what they do well.
Thank you for your consideration of my viewpoint on this matter. I believe this is a critical issue, and I would like to see the legislation pass SB 351 to ensure that each and every person in Georgia have access to primary care.

Sincerely,

Carol Lynne Van Buul, RRT, RN, BSN/MSN
Monroe, GA 30656

Hart, A. (2017). Georgia Nurses Asking Senate for More Freedom to Treat Patients. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. Retrieved from myajc.com/…/Georgia-nurses-asking-s…/politicallygeorgia.html
Politzer, R. M., Harris, D. L., & Gaston, M. D. (1991). Primary Care Physician Supply and the Medically Underserved. JAMA Journal of The American Medical Association. 266(1), 104-109. Doi: 10.1001/jama.1991.03470010108040
Van Vleet, A., & Paradise, J. (2015). Tapping Nurse Practitioners to Meet Rising Demand for Primary Care. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/…/tapping-nurse-practitioners-to-meet-…/
Weldon, T. (2008). Physician Shortages and the Medically Underserved. The Council of State Governments. Retrieved from http://www.csg.org/…/docs/TIA_PhysicianShortage_Final_scree…

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