Letters to the Editor

Keep physicians in control

The Illinois Society for Advanced Practice Nursing has introduced and is lobbying for House Bill 421, which would remove the requirement that nurses practicing outside of a hospital or ambulatory surgical treatment centers maintain a collaborative agreement with a physician. The bill would also remove the requirement that certified nurse anesthetists enter into an anesthesia plan with a supervising anesthesiologist.

This bill would allow advanced practice nurses to provide the same medical services as anesthesiologists, pain management physicians, family physicians, pediatricians, obstetricians and other specialists without requiring equivalent education and training standards that physicians are required by law to complete – all completely independent of any physician collaboration.

Allowing non-physician practitioners to expand their scope of practice through legislation rather than through education and training is not good public policy for improving patient access to quality care. Medical education and training requirements exist for a reason: to ensure that the patient is properly treated.

The differences in education and training between a physician and an APN are significant.

New physicians have seven or more years of post-graduate education and more than 10,000 hours of clinical experience. Most APNs have just two to three years post-graduate training and less clinical experience than is obtained in the first year of a three-year medical residency that physicians must complete before they are allowed to practice independently.

The St. Clair and Madison County Medical Societies are urging our representatives of the Illinois General Assembly to oppose HB 421, which jeopardizes patient quality of care and does not provide additional resources to underserved areas.

Elaine Hoffmann

Executive Director

St. Clair County Medical Society