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Wiregrass Nurse Practitioner Association

Paying It Forward....

Posted about 3 years ago by Nancy Turnham

I have recently sent an email to all of our followers and former members then realized I needed to address our paid members as well.

For many of you, your annual dues are coming up quite soon; for others, you may not have officially joined the Wiregrass NP Association (WNP). Let's take a few moments to look at some facts.

The WNP was started as a small group (i.e., 5 ) NPs in 1997, who joined together to share practice based information. This organization has grown over the years and is now a regional NP group for the state of Alabama. We are part of the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama (NPAA) and have worked tirelessly to expand the scope of practice of Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) in Alabama.

Have you wondered how you suddenly are eligible to obtain a DEA license and controlled substance prescribing? Well, it was not sudden, especially when you consider that APNs obtained prescriptive privileges in 1997, but NPAA and the WNP have spent 10 (ten) years working towards Controlled Substance prescriptive privlieges for NPs in Alabama. We have written bills, we have spent our money and time lobbying for you, we have hired lobbyists and attended countless meetings. We have worked with the Board of Nursing and the Board of Medical Examiners to pass bill(s) to be signed into law by the Governor. Are these rules perfect? NO. But we are working to amend those rules, to have refills on certain Schedule 3-5 drugs and to be able to prescribe certain obesity treatment options. Are these official yet? NO. But we are working on them.

BCBS and PEEHip reimbursement came about because of NPAA and the WNP. We are actively pursing improvement in the fee schedule and other barriers such as the signing of sports physicals and handicap placards.

Have you seen the rules posted for review regarding collaborative agreement? How YOUR practice may change in the future? We have successfully had the face to face requirement lowered (after certain guidelines are met) and increased the number of hours a physician may be in collaboration with a NP or PA or CNS or CNM from 120 hours to 180 hours per week. Did you know about those improvements? As of right now, these rules are still in the comment period and soon will be finalized pending review of comments.

We are working on removing barriers to practice in Alabama. We are working to improve patient access to care and YOUR ability to provide that care. Do you practice to the full scope of practice that you were educated for? NO, you do not. But we are working on expanding your legal scope.

Did you know that NPAA has a bill in the legislature this year to increase the number of APN seats on the Alabama Board of Nursing? Why are we (gasp) opening the Nurse Practice Act? Because we need more APNs on the BON in order to protect our patients, mainatain and improve our legal  scope of practice, and improve patient outcomes. We have good support for this bill and are very hopeful it will pass.

Did you know that in 2014 Mississippi spent $50,000 (yep, that is fifty thousand dollars) on ATTORNEY fees to prevent their scope of practice from being reduced?? The APNs in Mississippi were practicing within their legal scope/that they were trained for and it required legal action to prevent their scope of practice from being reduced. Where would Alabama get that kind of money from?

The WNP and NPAA need your help. We need dues paying members. We understand that not everyone has time to serve on the BON or be part of a committee. But you have 10 minutes to sign up, pay dues, and become a member. 10 minutes, once a year. $130.00 total between NPAA and the WNP. You pay $30.00 to WNP and $100.00 to NPAA. I would LOVE for you to join the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) for another $125.00 but right now, NPAA and WNP need your help.

I believe that the total cost works out to be $10.83333 per month- for $130 in dues, to 2 organizations that are working to improve your scope of practice, patient accessibility to care and their outcomes, and improve your marketability as an APN. Take the 10 minutes to find the join button on the Wiregrass NP website and the NPAA website. All credit cards accepted and online payments are secure. We do NOT store your credit card numbers.

If you would like to volunteer, run for an office, serve on a committee, help lobby, or just say hello, send us an email by clicking on the Contact Us button. We want to hear from you on how we can help improve your scope of practice.

You may access the NPAA website from the statewide APN group button on the left.

Thank you for your time, your patience, your education, and your willingness to help those in need.