On the Records: Expanded Nursing Could Boost Economy

Giving advanced practice registered nurses in Texas an expanded role in health care through legislative changes next year could increase the state’s economic output by $8 billion annually and create nearly 100,000 permanent jobs, according to a report by economist Ray Perryman released Monday.

“We don’t have enough doctors. We don’t have enough nurses, and the gap is widening every day,” Perryman said, noting the growing population in Texas. “So we don’t have any choice but to try to use the resources we have more efficiently.”

Perryman is president of the Waco-based economic and financial analysis firm The Perryman Group. Perryman prepared the report for Texas Team Advancing Health Through Nursing, a nursing advocacy organization, of which he is a member. The report said improving patient care and reducing costs can be achieved by “greater utilization of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, including nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, certified nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists.” 

The  Texas Team Advancing Health Through Nursing is calling on legislators to expand the role of nurses to prescribe medication if they are credentialed by the Texas Board of Nursing as qualified to prescribe medications and have a “collaborative” prescriptive authority agreement with a physician or a physician group. 

The economic benefits, according to Perryman's report, would be found in the efficiency gains and savings from using nurses, who are less expensive to train and a reduced need for costly treatments because of preventive care. Perryman said the changes would not replace physicians with nurses but would provide access to care in underserved areas.

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