1. Anthony, Maureen PhD, RN

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Senate Bill 296 and House Bill 2150 were introduced by Representative Jan Schakowsky (D. Illinois) and Senator Susan Collins (R. Maine) as legislation that would allow nonphysician providers to order Medicare Home Health benefits for their patients. Together they are known as the "Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2019." I am writing this editorial to urge you to solicit the support of your United States Representative and your United States Senators for this important legislation.

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When Medicare was enacted in the 1960s, the only primary care and medical providers were physicians, thus a physician was required to order home care. A lot has changed in the last 55 years-and for the better! Patients now receive primary healthcare from nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants. There are more than 270,000 nurse practitioners in the United States, and 72% of them provide primary care (American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2019a). In fact, nurse practitioners choose primary care far more often than physicians do. Although 87% of nurse practitioners are prepared in primary care, only 8% of physicians enter a primary care residency (American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2019b).


Under the current provision, these healthcare providers must "hand off" their patients to a physician in order for the patient to be certified for home healthcare. This process isn't fair to nurse practitioners or their physician colleagues. It adds an extra layer of bureaucracy, that, at best is time consuming, and at worst is disruptive to the coordination of patient care.


Senate Bill 296/House Bill 2150 has bipartisan support, with many senators and representatives having already agreed to cosponsor this important legislation.


To find out if your legislators are on the list, go to:


If they appear on the list as supporters, take a moment to send them an email thanking them for their support. If they aren't on the list, write and ask for their support. To locate the name and contact information for your U.S. Senators, go to: and to locate your Representatives go to:




American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2019a). NP facts. Retrieved from[Context Link]


American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2019b). Nurse practitioners. Retrieved from[Context Link]