Nurse practitioners hope suspension of the Collaborative Agreement Act becomes permanent

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Wednesday marks one year since the first temporary suspension of the Collaborative Agreement Act. This agreement requires nurse practitioners to have a contract with a physician to be able to practice, creating limits to accessible healthcare.

Nurse practitioners are the main providers of primary care in Louisiana. The suspension on the act has renewed every three weeks since this time last year. Many nurse practitioners are hoping the suspension is permanent.

Nurse practitioner Jaylin Miller lost her home like many others in last year’s storms, forcing her to move her family to Alexandria. Without the executive order, she could have potentially went weeks without income.

“To get a provider to sign that form and to get it through the Louisiana State Board of Nursing can take up to at least two weeks,” Miller said.

The agreement limits the practitioner to a specific facility that they are collaborated with. Miller said the contract does not limit her care.

“It doesn’t change the way that I treat people,” Miller said. “It doesn’t change the way that I take care of people. It basically limits me if something happens to that collaborating provider on that piece of paper.”

With the suspension in place, nurse practitioners are easily and readily accessible, according to the president of Louisiana Association of Nurse Practitioners, Kathy Baldridge.

“We see too many patients that use the emergency room,” Baldridge said. “They stay at home, because they don’t have health insurance, or they don’t have a provider in the community that they can go to.”

People who are more susceptible to complications resulting from COVID-19, are often those who don’t have access to affordable, quality healthcare.

“At some point we have to do something different for the people of Louisiana, so we can improve our health ranking,” Baldridge said.

“We are never going to increase or improve our health outcomes if we don’t change the way we are providing healthcare,” Miller said.

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