Letters: Law was solution in search of problem

In response to the story “New law clamps down on certain medical titles in advertising” [Sept. 30], as a family nurse practitioner with over 10 years of experience providing care to patients, I wanted to set the record straight.

In Indiana, there are no known reports of health care professionals falsely marketing themselves as something they are not. This new law was legislation in search of a problem, while ignoring the real issues that patients in our state face.

Our state’s health care costs are unsustainable, with our hospital costs among the seventh-highest in the nation. Over 2.1 million Hoosiers live in primary care shortage areas, and 4.1 million reside in mental health [care] shortage areas.

Health care policies should be focused at increasing access to high-quality care while decreasing costs. For example, under Indiana law, my advanced practice registered nurse—or APRN—colleagues and I must sign a contract with a physician as a condition of practice. This “permission slip” to practice requires APRNs to submit a subset of patient charts to a physician for review as “quality assurance,” often at a high cost to the APRN or health system. This review occurs after care is provided, having no impact on patient care or outcomes.

This legislative barrier limits access to care, especially in rural and vulnerable populations. In some cases, when a contracting physician retires or passes away, it can force clinic closures, resulting in patients having to drive long distances for both primary and mental health care. APRNs trained here in Indiana choose to leave the state in favor of the more favorable practice environments available in 26 states where APRNs can work to the top of their profession.

–Tai Morrell

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