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APRN 2014 Pharmacology Spring Conference.

An impressive lineup of nurses and representatives from national professional organizations briefed participants in current health policy issues at the opening plenary panel for the Montana Nurses Association (MNA) APRN 2014 Pharmacology Spring Conference.

MNA Executive Director, Lori Chovanak, MN, RN, FNP student, served as both moderator and participant in the panel of five experts. Lori opened the session with a report of pressing issues impacting health care in Montana. One of the biggest issues since last September has been the new Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) rule which requires a physician signature to order certain Durable Medical Equipment (DME) items. CMS regulations for ordering DME became more restrictive after implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in an attempt to supposedly to curb fraud. However, the CMS rule restricts the ability of APRNs to order items such as nebulizers, oxygen, and glucometers, to name a few. Lori recounted her trip to Washington DC last fall to talk with Senator Baucus, (whirlwind ride underground to the Capital included) where his staffers pulled him out of session for a minute and Lori's message was succinctly delivered with a brief, "We've got a problem!" Her visit combined with a letter writing campaign from Montana APRN's delayed the implementation of the CMS rule.

April Carter, MPA, BS, Associate Director of the American Nurses Association (ANA) Government Affairs Department echoed the problem the DME rule has created for patients who need lifesaving items like oxygen or nebulizers. In rural areas, finding a physician to sign DME orders creates delays, adds to the cost of healthcare as many physicians require a face to face visit, and may not be possible for many patients who do not have transportation to providers who may be over an hour away. April highlighted other barriers to patient care that continue to require physician signatures for activities well within the scope of practice of APRNs including Home Health Care, Hospice, and Long Term Care. ANA fully supports APRNs providing health care for Veterans, initiatives to prevent workplace violence, and funding Title VIII to educate future APRNs as well as nurses.

Sarah Baessler, BS, BA, Director of Health Policy and Government Relations from the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA), shared one nurse practitioner's heartbreak as she considered closing her mental health practice due to 25 percent decrease in insurance reimbursement to her practice. Sarah inspired the group as she outlined the steps that lead to Oregon APRNs bringing forward legislation requiring insurance companies to follow 'equal pay for equal work' rules on insurance reimbursements for Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants and Physicians in primary care and mental health. With the passing of HB 2902, Oregon became the first state in the nation to pass parity in reimbursement legislation, protecting a patient's right to choose their provider, and encouraging free enterprise.

Katherine Kany, MSN, BSN, RN, Associate Director at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), emphasized the shortage of healthcare workers including primary care providers in large areas of Montana, called Health Professional Shortage Areas or HPSA. In February of 2013, AFT became affiliates with National Federation of Nurses (NFN) which comprises state nurses associations in Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Washington, all constituent members of ANA. AFT shares concern regarding health and safety in the workplace with ANA. AFT has staff dedicated to reading and studying the ACA documents so they can act as a resource for their AFT members.

Deanna Babb, DNP, APRN, FNP, provided highlights of key issues identified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). The most pressing issue for AANP members is finding cosponsors and support for a bill sponsored by Congressman McDermott (D-WA) that would reverse current DME rule requiring physician signature for DME. Letters and stories from Montana nurse practitioners to Senators Baucus and Tester and Representative Daines, played a part in postponement of DME rule implementation. AANP continues to encourage every nurse practitioner (NP) to write their legislators about Medicare issues that limit access to care including requiring physician orders for Home Health Care, Hospice, and Long Term Care, and to include nurse practitioners as leaders and providers for Accountable Care Organizations.

Katherine Kany, MSN, BS, RN

Assistant Director | AFT Healthcare

"Rarely do we see a state where APRN practices cover the critical need areas to the extent they do in Montana. This slide gives a true picture of the valuable and critical role APRNs play in providing access to care for the state's citizens and should be shown to policy makers, residents, other APRNs, and anyone who needs to understand the potentially devastating impact that results from limiting the ability of APRNs to practice fully and without challenge."

Jennifer Flynn, AON/Manager, Healthcare Risk Management Program

"NSO was happy to have been invited to Montana Nurses Association's APRN conference. As always, the opportunity to interact with APRNs and hear and discuss the liability issues they face in their practice allows us to enhance our risk management and patient safety information for the benefit of Montana APRNs and the greater APRN community."

Patricia Carrick, FNP

Family Nurse Practitioner, Dillon MT

"It was good to reunite with so many amazing Montana Advanced Practice nurses at the spring conference and evening "Summit" event. I appreciated having time set aside to hear about the experiences of others related to our shared professional concerns and it was inspiring to hear of the stellar work and dedicated representation of the staff and volunteers of our professional organization. Perhaps we can all give a thought to what contribution we might make, no matter how limited or small, to the ongoing work being done on behalf of ourselves and hopefully to the benefit of our patients."

Keven Comer, APRN, FNP-BC

Bridger Internal Medicine

The 4th Annual APRN pharmacology conference was held in Helena at the Great Northern Hotel March 28 and 29th. More than sixty APRNs from across the state attended with vendors and many outstanding speakers. The conference offered over 15 hours of CE credits and 13.5 hours of Pharmacology credit. Montana APRNs are required to have a minimum of 24 hours of CE and 12 hours of pharmacology credit to keep prescriptive authority every two years with renewal of licensure.

Hot Topics this year included drug abuse trends and use of the Montana prescription drug registry; ETOH protocols for withdrawal and treatment; Obamacare in Montana; Prescriber contribution to Drugged Driving, new PAP guidelines; Herpes dx and TX; head injury and anticoagulants; and there was an outstanding panel with MNA, ANA, AANP and AFT representatives that discussed current state and national issues that affect APRNs and how those groups are addressing NP concerns.

"As always, MNA staff was available to answer questions and assist NPs in becoming MNA members. Friday night was the APRN Summit and Lori Chovanak Executive Director discussed pending issues at the state and national levels. The session was a well-attended with questions and issues discussed by APRNs."

"I encourage all APRNs to consider attending next year's pharmacology conference. Mark your calendars for 2015. We are always looking for interested individuals to share their expertise and present at these events. We accept proposals for topics and speakers and any interested speakers should contact the Kathy at the Montana Nurses' Association."

Deanna Babb, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC

Family Nurse Practitioner/Missouri River Healthcare, Montana State

University/Coordinator FNP Program
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Title Annotation:Continuing Education
Author:Babb, Deanna
Publication:The Pulse
Article Type:Conference news
Date:Jun 22, 2014
Previous Article:Reflections.
Next Article:FAQS: what are the continuing education requirements?

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