Northam signs bill to benefit nurse practitioners

STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill that will allow most nurse practitioners to practice on their own without the supervision of physician.

Currently, Virginia physicians can only supervise up to six nurse practitioners at a time and some said that can make it difficult for nurse practitioners to find a place to work.

"It was causing a lot less people to be able to go out on their own or to be supervised by a physician so they were having to take other routes," said Katrina Munsey, manager of Munsey Medical Clinic.

The bill removes the need for most nurse practitioners with at least five years of clinical experience to have a contract under a physician in order to work.

Munsey said in the Valley, there is a shortage of health care providers and by getting rid of those contracts, they hope to see more people gain access to the care they need.

"We are booked completely out until July," said Munsey. "I think with having the nurse practitioners be able to open up their own practices and practice on their own there will be more available."

With more health care options available, Munsey said the quality of patient care will increase because more time will be available for each patient that needs assistance.

As nurse practitioners start their own practices, Munsey said the next step will be working with insurance companies to make sure they are credentialed to be fully compensated.