From mail-order prescription drugs to accessing electronic medical records by text message, health care delivery is vastly different in 2024 than when I started in the field nearly two decades ago.

In medicine, innovation drives discovery, which leads to new treatments, perhaps even cures.

At Premier Mobile Health Services, a nonprofit I founded in 2018 in Fort Myers, our innovation is one borne of necessity: bringing lifesaving medical care — via an RV converted into a doctor’s office on wheels — to our community’s most vulnerable residents directly in the neighborhoods where they live and congregate.

Earlier this winter, I joined my fellow members of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) in Washington in support of changing outdated federal policies that stifle innovation and unnecessarily limit patient access to health care.

House Resolution 2713/S 2418, the Improving Care and Access to Nurses (ICAN) Act, is a bipartisan measure that would significantly improve access to care for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries by removing barriers to practice for nurse practitioners (of which I am one, with a doctorate in the field) and other advanced practice registered nurses.

Anyone who’s received medical care lately knows how integral such health care professionals are to frontline patient care.

Federal government data shows that nurse practitioners make up about one-third of the country’s primary-care workforce in the U.S. and up to half in rural areas. Over 40% of all Medicare patients — a group that consists of one in every four Floridians — receive billable services from a nurse practitioner.

Among other shifts, the ICAN Act would allow advanced degree nurses to order cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation for Medicare patients. We would be able to approve the need for therapeutic shoes among Medicare patients with diabetes, home infusion care and hospice programs.

Since our clinic opened, we have served more than 12,000 patients, providing frontline care during the COVID-19 outbreak, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian and now, day in and day out in Lee County.

Our mobile practice services include early-detection health screenings, blood pressure and diabetes checks, drug screenings, basic vaccinations and more. We have our own pharmacy, an in-house laboratory, plus affiliate agreements with multiple universities, offering valuable real-world training.

Thanks to generous private donors and grants, patients without health insurance and with proof of income below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines receive complimentary care, while those who exceed those income limits are provided care at a significantly reduced rate.

Whether here in Fort Myers or across the country in Fargo, North Dakota, the growing and essential role of advanced-degree nurses in frontline patient care needs support, not outdated restrictions.

Policies and regulations that have not been modernized, and which prevent us from practicing to the full extent of our education and clinical training, reduce access to care, disrupt continuity of care, increase health care costs and undermine quality improvement efforts.

Please join me in urging our members of Congress representing Florida to support this critical legislation.

Nadine “Deanie” Singh is founder and chief executive officer of Premier Mobile Health Services.

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