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Nurse practitioner authority approved in Senate committee

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(The Center Square) – A panel of Pennsylvania Senate lawmakers approved a bill that gives more care authority to nurse practitioners.

The proposal is just one of several iterations lawmakers have debated for more than a decade as the state grapples with vanishing health care access in smaller communities.

“In rural counties, people must travel significantly farther to access care and there is rarely public transportation,” said primes sponsor Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Washington. “It can be very difficult and even impossible for people to access the health care they need, particularly as people age and tend to need care more often.”

Senate Bill 25 would give certified nurse practitioners authority to offer primary health care services in rural counties after fulfilling a three-year, 36-hour collaboration agreement with a physician. Bartolotta said doing so would bridge the gap for 3.6 million residents.

The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee passed the legislation 9-5 on Monday, priming the bill for a final vote on the chamber floor. It would also need approval in the state House before reaching the governor’s desk.

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