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Governor signs bill giving nurse practitioners more autonomy

In this Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018 photo, Nurse Practitioner Kristin Andrs looks over a chart in an examination room at her wellness center in Petersburg, Va. A bill awaiting Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s signature would eliminate the requirement that nurse practitioners with a certain amount of clinical experience have a contract with a physician who oversees them. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a bill allowing most nurse practitioners to gain the autonomy to practice without a physician’s oversight.

Northam’s spokesman said Thursday the governor had signed the measure sponsored by Republican Del. Roxann Robinson.

A statement from the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners called it a “spectacular moment.”

The bill allows most types of nurse practitioners with five years of full-time clinical experience to earn approval to practice without maintaining a contract with a supervising physician.

The bill’s supporters said the contracts were a burden and doing away with them could expand access to care.

The measure drew opposition from physicians, who raised patient safety and quality-of-care concerns.

More than half the state’s affected nurse practitioners have already met the five-year experience requirement.

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