The College of Nursing (CON) and the Office of Governmental Affairs at Augusta University will host a meeting of the Senate Study Committee on Barriers to Georgians’ Access to Adequate Healthcare (SR188), which will be open to the public. The meeting is slated for Oct. 16 from noon to 2:30 p.m. in Lee Auditorium on Augusta University’s Health Sciences campus.
The committee focuses on the role of advance practice registered nurses (APRNs) in ensuring Georgians have sufficient access to health care. Senator Renee Unterman, chair of the Georgia Senate Health and Human Services Committee, sponsored SR188 to establish this committee and will be in attendance. Dr. Lucy Marion, dean of the CON and only dean of a college of nursing serving on the committee, will also be in attendance.
Access to health care has far-reaching effects across the state. Georgia currently has the highest rate of pregnancy-related deaths in the United States and higher than average death rates from diabetes, HIV and heart disease, according to SR 188. Additionally, there is a shortage of all types of health care providers in rural Georgia.
Being in a rapidly growing primary care profession, APRNs are uniquely positioned to improve access to health care especially in rural and underserved areas. APRNs possess advanced clinical skills and a graduate-level education but are limited in their scope of practice in Georgia.
The other committee members of SR188 are Senator Larry Walker; Commissioner Frank Berry from the Department of Community Health; Commissioner J. Patrick O’Neal from the Department of Public Health; Aimee Manion, president of the Georgia Nurses Association; Brenda Rowe, Georgia Board of Nursing and Erin Hernandez, practicing APRN.
CON involvement in the committee is ongoing. Senator Unterman is scheduled to visit the College of Nursing at Athens this fall to meet with students, faculty, and APRNs in the area. This meeting will discuss several pressing health care topics including the scope of practice for APRNs.