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Nurses voice disappointment in the veto of the APRN Modernization Act

Nurses in the Madison area are concerned about healthcare in the state following a veto from Governor Tony Evers last month.
Updated: May. 10, 2022 at 10:20 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Nurses in the Madison area are concerned about healthcare in the state following a veto from Governor Tony Evers last month. Evers vetoed Senate Bill 394, or the Advanced Practice Registered Nurses Modernization Act.

The act would remove physician supervision or collaboration requirements for nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists. It is a measure originally suspended by the governor during emergency orders in 2020 to address the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“By not having full practice authority in the state of Wisconsin posses many gaps in healthcare for patients,” said family nurse practitioner Rene Buenzow, who works in the Madison area.

She says she moved to Wisconsin from one of the 27 states with full practice authority. Buenzow says the top five quality of care states have full practice authority, which she attributes to better workflow and the ability to serve patients more effectively.

“I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, about two years ago, and I came from a state that had full practice authority, so it posed big barriers in my day-to-day practice,” said Buenzow.

For others in the industry, the veto creates an uncertain future. At the Neighborhood Free Health Clinic, clinical nurse specialist and board president Tina Degroot says the move could harm the critical service she provides.

“Because it’s very difficult to find physicians who want to partner with you, it allows me to use my skills as a clinical nurse specialist, as an advanced practice nurse, to provide safe and effective care for patients who need it the most,” said Degroot.

Healthcare workers volunteer their time at the free health clinic, including the physicians. Degroot says it is essential care for her patients, but the need for oversight for practitioners holds back the clinic’s work.

“Governor Evers vetoing of the modernization act was a very sad day,” said Degroot. “The advanced practice nurse was ok to be providers during the pandemic.”

In a statement on the veto decision, Governor Evers said, “I object to altering current licensure standards for APRNs, allowing practices functionally equivalent to those of physicians or potentially omitting physicians from a patient’s care altogether...”

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