With an aging population and expanded insurance coverage under healthcare reform creating more demand for services and threatening to worsen the projected primary care provider shortage, the governor of New Mexico wants to launch a $220,000 marketing campaign to recruit nurses from other states to work in the Land of Enchantment, according to the Associated Press.
Gov. Susana Martinez requested the legislature provide the funds next year, and proposed a streamlined licensing system for nurses who move to New Mexico from more than two dozen states that aren't part of a multi-state partnership that allows licensed nurses to cross state lines and practice without additional applciations and fees in the member state, according to the article.
"By streamlining the requirements for nurses seeking to bring their talents and skills to New Mexico, we can further ensure that more New Mexicans, especially in rural and underserved areas, will have access to the high quality of healthcare our families and communities deserve," Martinez said.
The request is part of the governor's plans to increase the number of healthcare professionals to deal with the more than 200,000 uninsured who will gain Medicaid coverage across the state, almost all of which is considered a health professional shortage area. A report earlier this year said the Medicaid expansion could mean a need for 2,000 more doctors, 3,000 more registered nurses and 800 dentists, according to the article.
Nurse practitioners have more independence in some states, operating clinics without the supervision of a physician, and prescribing medication and referring patients to specialists, the AP said.
The potential primary care shortage has led many states to seek out nurses or expand scope of practice laws. For example, in an effort to improve access to quality care, Michigan's Senators voted 20-18 to pass Senate Bill 2, which allows for the licensure of advanced practice registered nurses, who can diagnose, treat patients and prescribe drugs without physician supervision, according to MLive.com.
In addition, a majority of people who responded to a Health Affairs study said they would rather see an NP or a PA sooner than a physician later, and liked the idea of spending less money to see a primary care provider, FierceHealthcare previously reported.