Experienced Nurse Practitioners Will Have More Flexibility with Collaborators in 2015

There’s some cautiously good news for nurse practitioners in New York State: nurse practitioners with about two years of experience will no longer have to complete written practice agreements with physicians, beginning in 2015.  Instead, experienced nurse practitioners will need to have a “collaborative relationship” with either a physician in the nurse practitioner’s specialty or a hospital that uses physicians in the nurse practitioner’s specialty.

As current nurse practitioners know, all nurse practitioners must have a written practice agreement and written practice protocols that govern the nurse practitioner’s practice.  When a nurse practitioner and a physician differ concerning diagnosis or treatment, the physician’s diagnosis or treatment wins out. 

Under the new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2015, nurse practitioners who have been practicing for more than 3,600 hours—just about two years—can instead have “collaborative relationships” hospitals or physicians.  Nurse practitioners will have to complete forms that the Department of Education will develop to describe the nurse practitioner’s relationship with the hospital or physician.  As part of the collaborative relationship, a nurse practitioner can communicate in person, by phone, or by email with the hospital or physician to discuss patient care and referrals.  Just as before, if a nurse practitioner and a physician disagree, the physician’s recommendation stands.

The new law will sunset on June 30, 2020.  Before then, the budget requires the state to begin collecting information statewide about access to care, and will issue a report on these issues on September 1, 2018.

We have spoken with the Office of the Professions, and that office is aware of the new law, and is evaluating its options for enforcing it.  Although the law does not go into effect until next year, nurse practitioners who have practiced for more than 3,600 hours should begin evaluating their options for future collaboration.

The budget bill that enacted the new law, know as the Nurse Practitioners Modernization Act, may be viewed here.

We will be monitoring this issue as the regulators begin work to put the new law into effect.  If you have questions on this and any other issues relevant to Nurse Practitioners, please feel free to contact Caitlin Monjeau at cmonjeau@oalaw.com.

Caitlin Monjeau

About Caitlin Monjeau

Caitlin is an associate with our Health Law department in the Albany office. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston University School of Law where she served as Articles Editor for the Boston University Law Review, and is a graduate of Duke University with a major in English and minor in Political Science. Caitlin was an intern with the United States Attorney’s Office, Criminal Division in Boston, MA before joining O’Connell and Aronowitz. Her experience includes clerkships with the Office of the General Counsel at Boston University and New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, 3rd Department. She also interned with the Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. While in law school, Caitlin was honored with the Paul J. Liacos Scholar and G. Joseph Tauro Distinguished Scholar awards. She also received the Best Oralist award in the Stone Moot Court Competition in 2009, and she was the Winner and recipient of the Best Brief Award for the Sutherland Cup Moot Court Competition in 2011.