Throughout the state, our organizations deliver health care, conduct business, grow jobs and our economy, and represent Hoosiers by empowering them to choose how they live as they age. While our focuses may differ from each other, we share a commitment to strengthening the health of our state and all of its citizens.
Today, more than 2 million Indiana residents live in federally designated primary care provider shortage areas. Along with these Hoosiers, 4.7 million more residents lack access to mental health care. This leaves millions of our neighbors without adequate access to care. And if that wasn’t enough, 33 out of 92 counties in Indiana are classified as obstetric deserts, meaning that women in almost 40% of our state don’t have access to vital health care services or don’t have a hospital with labor and delivery capabilities.
We believe Indiana can and must do better to protect the health of our state and families. Our businesses cannot recruit and retain a healthy workforce without adequate health care access, and we can no longer accept policies that exclude rural and underserved communities from receiving equitable health care access in their own communities.
Over the last two years, the public health emergency temporarily empowered patients with greater health care choice through direct access to advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). We cannot turn back now. With the suspension of the Governor’s executive order lapsing earlier this year, the General Assembly must act swiftly to pass legislation in the 2023 session to make this access permanent.
There are 26 states, the District of Columbia, and the VA Health system that grant patients full and direct access to the comprehensive care APRNs deliver in one billion patient visits each year nationwide. It is time for Indiana to join them.
We, the undersigned organizations, urge you to prioritize Indiana patients and enact full practice authority this legislative session. We stand ready to work with you to build a healthy future for Indiana where every citizen has access to the health care they deserve, delivered by the provider of their choice.