MAFP President Addresses Senate Bill 2

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On December 12, the Detroit News published an op-ed written by MAFP President, Dr. Tina Tanner (Montague), articulating the Academy’s opposition to Senate Bill 2.  As written, the bill would define and expand the scope of practice of advanced practice registered nurses in Michigan, permitting them to diagnose and prescribe independent of any relationship with a physician and/or within a patient care team. The Academy continues to be open to working on a comprehensive solution that provides for meaningful collaboration and communication between APRNs, physicians and other health care professionals and that is, above all, in the best interest of the patient.

Read the full op-ed below, or visit www.detroitnews.com to add your comment.

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I’d like to respond to the comments made in a Dec. 5 editorial by Nancy George, of the Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners, on Senate Bill (SB) 2 — Sen. Mark Jansen’s Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Scope of Practice bill.

As president of the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians, I have taken the time to extensively review this legislation, working closely with our staff and members to understand what the bill would mean to patients and quality of care. This is an important issue that has significant implications for health professionals and, more importantly, patients across the state. House Health Policy Chair Gail Haines, R-Lake Angelus, is to be commended for requesting that the issue be addressed carefully and comprehensively, rather than in a vacuum during a contentious and unpredictable lame duck session.

Let me be clear: Physicians value the contributions of APRNs and the important part they play in patient-centered care teams.

But by allowing APRNS to practice independent of physicians, SB 2, as written, continues to support a model and system of health care that is broken, one based on fragmentation and duplication. Michigan’s citizens deserve the best medical care. That is only possible when health care professionals, on all levels, share their knowledge and expertise with the common goal of excellent, compassionate care.

Fundamentally, Michigan’s health care settings should reflect a team-based approach wherein APRNs, physicians and other members of the health care team are working together. To that end, the MAFP has recommended changes to SB 2 that would provide for a collaborative relationship between nurse practitioners and physicians.

These recommendations reflect the evolving Patient-Centered Medical Home model and other delivery system reforms taking root throughout the country to deliver on the triple aim: better health, better care, at lower cost. As Michigan is a recognized leader in these efforts, shouldn’t our laws support this model?

As a practicing family physician, I have the opportunity to work with many excellent professionals. I have yet to encounter anyone who functioned better in isolation. With the ever-increasing complexity of care for our patients, ongoing education and communication is essential. We need teams, not fragmented systems.

Dr. Tina Tanner, President

Michigan Academy of Family Physicians

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For additional information about Senate Bill 2, see the following op-eds:

Compromise is key and nurse practitioners weren't willing to do so; by Rep. Gail Haines (R-Lake Angelus)

Senate Bill 2 puts special interests above patient care; by MSMS President James D. Grant