NJ-ACEP Testifies on APN Scope Bill at Senate Health Committee Hearing


Michael Ruzek, DO, FACEP and President-Elect for the New Jersey-ACEP testified in opposition to the bill on behalf of NJACEP. Dr. Ruzek cited the recent Stanford study that demonstrated that nurse-led care in US Veterans Affairs emergency departments resulted in increased costs and worse outcomes for patients. Dr. Ruzek also addressed a misnomer that APNs have been practicing independently since April 2020 because of the Governor’s Executive Order relaxing collaboration requirements during COVID.  Dr. Ruzek clearly explained that no emergency department in New Jersey or health system changed the way physicians and APNs practice together, including continuing joint protocols, collaboration and chart review.

In response to Dr. Ruzek’s testimony, the bill’s sponsor and committee chairman Senator Joseph Vitale, attempted to rebut the claim that the bill would remove the physician from the care of patients saying, “The bill does not eliminate the ability for a hospital to continue to impose a joint-collaborative agreement with an advance practice nurse. It’s up to the hospital to decide if they want to continue with that collaboration. It’s their choice.”

The audio of the committee hearing and Dr. Ruzek’s testimony can be heard here. His testimony starts at the 17:30 minute mark. The committee voted to release the bill from the committee, however a few senators indicated a desire to propose amendments later in the process.   The bill has been second reference to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Picture:  Dr. Ruzek leading a panel with colleagues from psychiatry, anesthesia, and family medicine.