A written cooperation agreement between a NP and a doctor is required. The plan describes the procedures for consultation or transfer to the cooperating physician or other health professionals, as indicated by a patient`s health needs. The agreement must include the availability of the cooperating physician for consultations or referrals, or both methods of managing collaborative practice, including required authority protocols, meeting a patient`s health needs in the absence of the nurse or physician, and quality assurance. Ark. Code Ann. § 17-87-102, Ark. Code Ann. §17-87-310 License information is available from the Arkansas State Board of Nursing. ASBN can be reached by e-mail (humanservices.arkansas.gov/about-dhs/dms/office-of-long-term-care) or by phone at 501-686-2700. What if we had abolished the mandatory cooperation agreement in 2017? Well, nurses would continue to work with their physician employers, physician colleagues, and nursing colleagues, as they have for the past 20 years. PNs would continue to work for doctors, clinics and hospitals.
No nurse would have to change anything. So why get rid of it? Some very good things would happen in Arkansas if this requirement were lifted. You may be wondering? Well, some nurses want to practice in their small rural communities and would open a clinic where no one else would want to work. However, under current legislation, if they cannot find a collaborative doctor, they cannot practice there. What happens when an NP has its own clinic in a rural community and its collaborative doctor retires? They cannot stay in this practice if they cannot find another doctor who meets the requirements of a cooperation agreement. Has it ever happened? YES. A rural ARKANSAS NP SE had to close her practice for the Delta when her collaborative doctor retired. It was the only supplier in its area to serve thousands of Arkansans. We see PR-owned clinics closing because of this barrier. If nurses can practice in underserved areas, access to care in these areas will be improved.
Some call this the Good Practice Authority (AAA); Nurses who do what they are trained, licensed and certified for, nothing more. Does this mean that a nurse is forced to open her own clinic? That`s not true. A nursing midwife who performs intrapartal care must also have an agreement with a medical officer. Examples of these two documents can be found on our website (under the lawyer. . . .