MONTANA Bill Would Restrict Nurse Practitioner Independence

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Bill Name: House Bill 810 (HB 810)

Primary Sponsor: Representative Jodee Etchart

Status: 3/11/2023 Missed deadline and failed to advance

AmSpa’s Take: Allowing advanced practitioners such as physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) to practice to the level of their education and skill, without the need to maintain cumbersome chart review and meeting requirements, frees up time and resources that can be better spent seeing patients, improving their skills and developing their practices. Independence also allows these practitioners to innovate in new practice areas through owning their own practices.

Outlook: This bill is in the first steps of the process but, based on the sponsor’s past record, it has a lower likelihood of passing.

Analysis: Currently, Montana nurse practitioners (NPs) are independent practitioners. Once licensed, NPs may practice within the bounds of their training, education and skill. Under HB 810, however, NPs would need to complete a period of collaboration with another health care professional before gaining independence.

HB 810 would require NPs with fewer than two years of experience to enter a supervised collaboration relationship. The collaborating provider could be either a physician or an NP with more than two years of practice. Under this two-year period, the NP does not necessarily require onsite supervision, provided a means of communicating with the collaborating provider has been established. This relationship must be documented in a collaborative agreement and kept up-to-date by the NP.

The majority of states allow nurse practitioners to practice independently in some manner. Some, like Montana, allow NPs to be independent immediately, while others have a period of supervised practice, such as the two years of collaboration HB 810 would add. HB 810 would be counter to the general trend for NP independent practice by imposing more restrictions than NPs in Montana currently have. If you would like additional information, to read the language of the bill or to contact the sponsors or committee, you can find the information you need through this link.