Pa. seeks to loosen health practice restraints

The Associated Press

THE ISSUE: Pennsylvania health-care professionals who aren’t doctors , such as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician’s assistants , face restrictions in state law and regulations that limit their ability to provide basic medical care.

THE PROPOSAL: Gov. Ed Rendell has called for lowering those barriers, allowing nonphysicians to perform tasks such as taking medical histories and conducting examinations. He would also end Pennsylvania’s status as the only state that prohibits nurse midwives from prescribing drugs.

WHY NOW?: The proposal is part of Rendell’s much broader “Prescription for Pennsylvania” plan to make health care more affordable and accessible. His administration says the approach will encourage more people to seek less costly preventive care.
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