Nurse practitioners can practice without physician collaboration in New York

January 16, 2015

Experienced nurse practitioners in New York took a step toward greater independence on New Year’s Day, when new rules under the

Experienced nurse practitioners in New York took a step toward greater independence on New Year’s Day, when new rules under the Nurse Practitioner Modernization Act went into effect.

The rules stipulate that nurse practitioners with more than 3,600 hours of clinical practice no longer need to work under a written collaborative agreement with a physician. The required clinical experience equates to about two years in clinical practice. Nurse practitioners with less than the required amount of experience will still be required to work under a physician, according to the legislation.

In addition to rescinding the collaboration requirement, the Nurse Practitioner Modernization Act-signed into law along with New York’s state budget in April-will free experienced nurse practitioners from submitting patient charts to a physician for review. The only requirement that remains that will tie experienced nurse practitioners to physicians or hospitals is that they must maintain an established relationship for referral or consultation.

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The new rules also allow nurse practitioners to diagnose illness, and perform therapeutic and corrective measures. Prior to the start of 2015, nurse practitioners could only perform these functions under the scope of a physician collaboration.

Although there is opposition to giving nurse practitioners increased freedom, with naysayers arguing higher utilization costs for NPs, New York will become the 20th state to do away with the collaborative agreements.

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The Nurse Practitioner Association New York State says nurse practitioners were leaving the state to pursue careers elsewhere due to the cost of maintaining physician collaborations.

“This is an acknowledgement of using the whole healthcare community-our whole idea that we're not going to practice in a vacuum, a silo, that we're going to collaborate with all members of the healthcare team as needed,” says Stephen Ferrara, executive director of the Nurse Practitioner Association New York State.