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Potential Doctor Shortage Has State Lawmakers Focused On Laws For Nurses

The nation’s medical colleges are predicting a looming shortage of doctors. That has a state representative proposing some changes to the laws on certified, higher-level nurses.

It’s estimated that over the next decade, the U.S. could be short by 90,000 doctors. Specialized nurses say changing state laws that govern them can help with that shortage. Candy Rinehart is a family nurse practitioner and director of Ohio State’s College of Nursing. 

“According to a Rand health study earlier this year, updating our current law could increase access to primary care and reduce emergency department visits by approximately 70,000 visits a year,” Rinehart said. “This could result in millions of dollars of savings for the state of Ohio.” 

A bill from State Rep. Dorothy Pelanda of Marysville would allow nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and other advanced practice registered nurses to treat more patients and do more on the job without requiring doctors to collaborate with them.