On January 9, the 2019 General Assembly Session will convene, and there are several bills that are set to be introduced that may have an impact on Virginia healthcare providers. We will update this post with additional legislation as session progresses.
In Virginia (and in many other states), NPs who do not have an autonomous practice must practice under the direct supervision of a physician as part of a patient care team, pursuant to what is called a “Practice Agreement,” or, “Collaborative Practice Agreement.” A Practice Agreement is an agreement between an NP and the NP’s supervising physician that describes the relationship between the parties, including the procedures to be followed and acts to be performed by the NP in the course of providing care to patients.
In April 2018, Governor Ralph Northam signed House Bill 793, which will allow Virginia nurse practitioners (NPs) with the equivalent of five years of full-time practice with a collaborating physician to be certified to practice independently. What does this mean for NPs in Virginia? Practically speaking, if a nurse practitioner meets the qualifications and makes the appropriate filings with the Board of Nursing, he or she can open up an independent practice to provide care in their community. This change aligns Virginia law with more than twenty other states across the country in adopting full practice authority and is expected to expand access to affordable primary care to thousands of Virginians.