The governor of Nebraska vetoed a bill that would have allowed experienced nurse practitioners to practice without physician oversight. The bill, passed unanimously by the unicameral state legislature days earlier on April 18, removed a state requirement that nurse practitioners with more than 2,000 hours of practice have an integrated practice agreement with a collaborating physician.
Nebraska State Sen. Sue Crawford, who introduced the measure, said she did not expect the veto from Gov. Dave Heineman. Legislators have adjourned, so they cannot override it. The bill was strongly opposed by the state medical association, and Heineman said in his veto letter he thought it went too far in granting independence to nurse practitioners and expressed concern for patients. He said he would not have vetoed it if it had required 4,000 hours of clinical experience. The bill had been amended to include the 2,000-hour requirement to address concerns such as those cited by the governor, Crawford told reporters. There was no discussion or input from the governors office about whether it should have been 2,000 or 4,000 hours, she said.
Crawford said she introduced the bill to help keep nurse practitioners in the state. She said 70% of newly graduated nurse practitioners trained in mental healthcare leave Nebraska to practice elsewhere.
She said she would talk to legislators and consider options on the best way to bring the bill back for the next session.
I think that as we start this discussion again, we will be looking at all options, she said.