In an attempt to help the state retain and attract more health care workers during the current hospital crisis, a new Washington State Senate bill would require insurance companies to reimburse advanced registered nurse practitioners at the same rate of physicians.
Senate Bill 5704, sponsored by 16 Senate Democrats, states in its opening paragraph that it was written in response to the COVID-19 health worker shortage.
“Given the gravity of the COVID-19 crisis and the threat future pandemics present to the residents of Washington, the Legislature recognizes the importance of supporting health care practitioners throughout the state,” the bill reads. “This act intends to help maintain a sufficient number of health care providers, especially in underserved and rural communities.”
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More than 400 members of the public registered their support of the bill during a hearing this week, with several advanced registered nurse practitioners giving their experience during public comment.
Louise Kaplan, an ARNP and legislative chair of the ARNPs United of Washington, said that until recent years, insurance companies had tended to pay ARNPs and medical doctors the same amount of money; this bill, she said, would make up for those recent cuts.
“Equitable reimbursement of ARNPs will help clinics pay for the cost of delivering care to patients — it does not go directly to the ARNP,” Kaplan said.
Another ARNP, Maddy Wiley, pointed out that nurse practitioners perform many of the same tasks as physicians, such as performing exams, prescribing

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