Kansas becomes the 26th state to grant patients full and direct access to care by NPs.
Kansas lawmakers' adoption of Full Practice Authority (FPA)—making it the 26th state to enact FPA legislation—means that more U.S. states than not have granted patients full and direct access to care by nurse practitioners (NPs.)
When Gov. Laura Kelly signed House Bill 2279 into law on Friday, Kansas became the second state in 2022 and the 26th state in the nation, along with the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories, to adopt FPA.
"This is a major milestone in healthcare for Kansas and for our nation,” said April N. Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP- BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN, president of AANP.
"We celebrate as Kansas becomes the 26th state to grant patients full and direct access to nurse practitioners’ care. The majority of states have now adopted this legislative model," she said. "We thank Gov. Kelly and the legislature for prioritizing patients and taking action to improve healthcare in the Sunflower State."
The move had strong bipartisan support. A Kansas poll showed broad bipartisan and key demographic support across the state. Furthermore, most voters said they would be more likely to vote for a legislator who agreed with granting FPA.
FPA is the authorization of NPs to evaluate patients, diagnose, order, and interpret diagnostic tests, and initiate and manage treatments under the exclusive licensure authority of the state board of nursing.
This regulatory framework eliminates requirements for NPs to hold a state-mandated contract with a physician as a condition of state licensure and to provide patient care.
The National Academy of Medicine's The Future of Nursing 2020-2030 report recommends that nurses be allowed to "practice to the full extent of their education and training by removing barriers that prevent them from more fully addressing social needs and social determinants of health and improving healthcare access, quality, and value."
Nearly 781,000 Kansans live in a federally designated primary care health professional shortage area where only about 52% of the need for primary care services is met, according to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. Even more alarming, mental health professional shortages affect more than 1.3 million Kansans, with just 32.74% of the need being met.
"This law is a necessary step toward eliminating healthcare disparities, managing costs, and building the healthcare workforce for Kansas,” said Jon Fanning, AANP's CEO.
"States that have adopted Full Practice Authority are better positioned to address these critical issues. Today, patients in most states have full and direct access to NPs and these benefits," he said. "We call on the remaining states to follow suit and modernize their licensure laws to ensure patients have full and direct access to high-quality, nurse practitioner-delivered care.”
“This law is a necessary step toward eliminating healthcare disparities, managing costs, and building the healthcare workforce for Kansas.”
Jon Fanning, CEO, American Association of Nurse Practitioners
Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.
Kansas is the 26th state to enact FPA legislation.
FPA has broad bipartisan and key demographic support across Kansas.
Kansas is the second state in 2022 to adopt FPA, the first being New York.