NEWS
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NEWS AFFECTING APRNS

    TEXAS NURSE PRACTITIONER UPDATE
A Standout Session for NPs
During the 85th Legislative Session, TNP made giant strides to improve the practice environment for nurse practitioners in Texas and access to care for Texas patients. 
Check out our full 2017 Legislative Session Recap here to learn about how this session impacts you, your patients, and your practice. 
What did we do?
Advancing our Agenda: TNP worked with lawmakers to pass two of the six items on TNP’s legislative agenda, and secured a hearing for all but two of our priority initiatives. SB 654 by Sen. Seliger and Rep. Smithee will expand access to care to Texas patients by allowing APRNs to see Medicaid and CHIP patients, regardless of whether their delegating physician also participates in those plans. SB 919 by Sen. José Rodríguez and Rep. Garnet Coleman, extends signature authority to APRNs and Physician Assistants for death certificates.
Coalition Building: This year we formed the Coalition for Health Care Access — a group of over 20 business, consumer-advocacy, and health care stakeholder groups supporting full practice — and launched the Put Patients First Texas campaign. Thanks to the Coalition’s efforts, we had a successful public hearing for HB 1415/SB 681 on April 25, with supportive testimony from dozens of organizations.
Protections for Nurses, Telemedicine, and Women’s Health: TNP was a part of several coalitions that advanced key bills for telemedicine, nursing, and women’s health, including SB 1107 that removes the requirement for an initial face-to-face visit with a physician prior to receiving telemedicine.
This successful session could not have been possible without your support, time, and financial contributions (see the full 2017 Legislative Session Recap here). Thank you for all you do to give back to your profession! We are truly making important changes for patients, one session at a time.
In Solidarity,
Erin Cusack
Associate Director of Public Affairs
Texas Nurse Practitioners
POSTED 6 / 6 / 2017

Blues open up to NP Providers

We are happy to share that Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Texas has just initiated a new program allowing its members to select Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) as their Primary Care Providers (PCPs). This program is being implemented for Blue Essentials, Blue Premier, and Blue Advantage HMO networks. This change, which TNP had been working with BCBS Texas on for the past couple of years alongside some of TNP’s business owner members, will have a significant impact on increasing access to primary care for BCBS HMO plan beneficiaries in the state. 
According to a recent national survey of some of the largest HMOs in each state, almost 75% of them recognize APRNs as PCPs, a substantial increase over previous years. Despite this fact, not recognizing APRNs as PCPs for HMO plans has been an ongoing barrier for nurse practitioners practicing in Texas and other states, as about one in four HMOs still do not recognize APRNs as PCPs.
BCBS Texas announced the new program in late Spring and sent letters to APRNs and PAs whose collaborating physicians are enrolled in BCBS’s various HMO plans. This letter is an opt-out form; if APRNs or PAs want to participate and they have received this letter, the default option is for them to be enrolled automatically and no further action is required. If you have not received a letter from BCBS about this new program and think you are eligible to participate, we encourage you to contact a representative from your nearest network management office (see contact information here) for more information on how you can enroll.
It is important to note that while BCBS has expanded the PCP designation to include advanced practice providers, it still requires that the APRN or PA have a delegating physician who is in-network for the HMO. Newly passed legislation that removes in-network insurance restrictions for APRNs, SB 654 (Smithee/Seliger), applies to Medicaid/CHIP only and does not affect commercial plans like BCBS. Also, APRNs and PAs will maintain their current role for BlueChoice PPO, Blue Cross Medicaid Advantage PPO, and Blue Cross Medicare Advantage PPO.
We applaud BCBS Texas for taking this important step to increase the number of primary care providers available to Texas patients, and we look forward to seeing the program implemented across the state. 
Sincerely,
Erin Cusack
Associate Director of Public Affairs
Texas Nurse Practitioners
POSTED 6 / 29 / 2017