The South Carolina Coalition for Access to Healthcare said it wants to improve on the state’s poor health rankings.
At a Statehouse rally on Wednesday, University of South Carolina School of Nursing associate dean Dr. Stephanie Burgess highlighted what she thinks can be some of the solutions. “These include reducing healthcare costs by keeping folks out of the emergency room, improving chronic disease outcomes and increasing access to care and reducing barriers to care for patients,” she said.
She said allowing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN), who graduate with a master’s degree, to assess, diagnose and prescribe for patients in the absence of a doctor, increasing the number of individuals who can treat patients in the state.
State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, has introduced legislation to do that. “What we have is a decades-old law that is predicated upon on a time when nurses didn’t get the degree of training that they get today,” Davis told those attending the rally.
According to the South Carolina Coalition for Access to Healthcare, APRNs can provide up to 90 percent of primary care as physicians. The group believes the advanced nurses are a potentially untapped resource who could extend prrimary care across rural areas of the state. The coalition argues removing the barriers would increase access and lower costs.
Gov. Henry McMaster said that access to healthcare in South Carolina is important for the state’s growth and economy. “People want to come, and they want to work. Well they need to be healthy,” the governor said at Wednesday’s event.