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5-28-21 UPDATE –

We are pleased to report that 23 legislators signed on as co-sponsors to the  APRN Modernization Act legislative proposal.  The next step is for the two bills will receive a bill number and Committee assignment.  The Chairs of the assigned Committees will schedule public hearings on the bills.  WNA will notify you when the hearings are scheduled.

Thanks to all of you who contacted your legislators asking for their support.

Update on the APRN Modernization Act. Action Alert!  Now is the time for you to contact your state senator and assembly person asking them to sign-on as a co-sponsor to Assembly LRB- 3325 and Senate LRB – 3578 

The APRN Modernization Act is a legislative proposal that is sponsored by Representative Rachael Cabral-Guevara and Senator Patrick Testin.  The language is very similar to the legislative bills from the last legislative session.  The overall benefits of this legislative proposal supports includes the following:

  • Protects the public with truth and transparency about the responsibility and accountability of APRN practice through separate licensure.
  • Modernizes antiquated language to reflect current APRN practice and responsibilities.
  • Eliminates unnecessary barriers that have proven to provide no value to the delivery and safety of APRN care and services.
  • Set a high standard of safety in caring for our patients

Wisconsin is witnessing a shortage of physicians in our population dense and rural communities prior to, during, and post COVID-19 public health emergency. This is creating long wait times for individuals to access quality care in the most appropriate cost-effective setting.  You are finding utilization of APRNs  to meet the health care needs in the majority of legislator’s communities. Research repeatedly demonstrates that APRNs provide safe, high-quality care with equivalent outcomes to their physician counterparts.  This is why they are in such high demand.

The language in the APRN Modernization Act

  • Provides licensing for APRNs and describes the strict educational/experience requirements to obtain a license.
  • Grants title protection for APRN and the four specialties.
  • Sets the stage for future APRN Compact agreements with other states.
  • Standardizes the APRN professional titles to be consistent with the other states.
  • Gives the Wisconsin Board of Nursing greater authority in regulating APRNs and APRN graduate schools.
  • Provide technical amendments to replace Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber (APNP) with APRN.
  • Modernizes Wisconsin’s Nurse Practice Act, § Chapter 441 to reflect the national consensus model being adopted across the country. Specifically the APRN Modernization Act;
  • Adds a definition for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and scope of practice.
  • Provides formal licensure for advanced practice registered nurses (APRN), recognizing the four different practice roles; Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Practitioner. Requires the licensee to hold national board certification.
  • Requires graduating with a Master’s Degree or higher in an APRN role; and graduated from a school of nursing with national accreditation.
  • Requires demonstration of medical malpractice and liability insurance coverage.
  • Creates the conditions for an APRN to prescribe, consult, collaborate and refer patients to other health care providers and health systems.
  • Allows currently practicing APNPs be licensed as APRNs without application.
  • Repeals §441.15 – Nurse Midwife Practice Act
  • Repeals §441.16 – Prescription Privileges for Advanced Practice Nurses


Other information

  • Wisconsin’s Nurse Practice Act, State Statute 441, is relatively silent when it comes to defining the role and responsibility of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).
  • Legislation recognized advanced practice registered nurses in 1995 when subsets of these practitioners’ were granted prescriptive authority. Wisconsin State Statute 441.16 was created to allow advanced practice nurse to prescribe medications under the conditions defined. APRNs practice beyond the realm of prescriber work. Clarity regarding their legal definition and role are needed.
  • According to the a report of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, APRNs play a critical role in alleviating provider shortages and expanding access to health care services for medically underserved populations by commenting on how the requirements for physician collaboration for licensure creates scope of practice restrictions and may eliminate APRNs as an important source of safe, lower-cost competition. Such a reduction of competition may lead to a number of anticompetitive effects.
  • Currently in Wisconsin, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses cannot provide pharmacologic-related care without having a documented collaborative relationship with a physician. This has become an artificial barrier effectively giving one group of health care professionals the ability to restrict access to the market by another, competing group of health care professionals, thereby denying health care consumers the benefits of greater competition and access to care.  The APRN physician collaboration requirement is currently suspended because of the COVID-19 public health emergency.  APRNs practicing independently who have ceased their documented physician relationship are saving substantial dollars each month while continuing to provide, safe, quality and accessible care.
  • Wisconsin’s population is aging. The workforce predictions from Wisconsin Hospital Association show a dire need for health care providers now–and worsening in the near future. APRNs have proven themselves ready and able to fill those needs, particularly in rural and urban underserved areas.  APRNs provide access to care at no added cost to the state, no delay in the benefit to the consumer or the state, and are a solution that has a track record of 50 years of success.

WNA is requesting that you contact your legislators before May 25, 2021  and ask that they sign-on as a co-sponsor to the APRN Modernization Act

Historical information on the APRN Modernization Act can be found here.