HASTINGS, Neb. -- Thursday, Governor Pete Ricketts signed LB 107, giving nurse practitioners the ability to practice without a physician present.
"The passage of L-B 107 really modernizes Nebraska's regulation to allow those Nebraska citizens that don't have access to healthcare to be able to access those services, which is wonderful," said psychiatric nurse practitioner Cathy Phillips.
State Senator Sue Crawford first introduced the bill as LB 916 last year. However, after its passage, former Governor Dave Heineman vetoed it.
In his campaign run, Governor Pete Ricketts voiced support for the bill, giving Sen. Crawford some hope.
"The governor had expressed support when asked as we were going through the process, so it was good to know when we were doing all that work that we could expect that he would sign it, but you never rest until you see that signature on the dotted line," said Sen. Crawford.
For Nebraskans across the state, this gives them more opportunities to get healthcare. Phillips says that with this bill, nurse practitioners will not need a physician's agreement, which can be difficult to obtain. Instead, nurse practitioners would be approved to help others in their area.
"The nurse practitioner in Cherry County as a new graduate now has significant more opportunities to open a psychiatric practice in a rural, under served area because her options now include entering into a collaborative agreement with an experienced psychiatric nurse practitioner," said Phillips in response to a nurse practitioner she knows.
Phillips is part of an organization called Nebraska Nurse Practitioners. Not only is she a NP, but with NNP, she helped push the passage of LB 107.
"When I think about the access to care issues to Nebraskans statewide that will now have access to care, I am extremely gratified that I could be a small part of that," said Phillips.
Sen. Crawford says that it's not just the legislature that sees the bill as important. She says that the Federal Trade Commission has said the integrated practice agreement Nebraskan NPs are under is a restriction of trade.
"The Federal Trade Commission said there's ample evidence that nurse practitioner care is safe and effective," said Sen. Crawford.
Nurse practitioners will still need to undergo 2,000 hours of supervised clinical practice and collaborate with physicians.
The new bill go into affect 90 days after the close of this current legislative session.