By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa (CBS) — Nurse practitioners descended on the state capitol Tuesday, to renew their push for legislation that would give them full authority to practice medicine.

Calling it a necessary step to expand access to health care for thousands of patients, especially those living in rural or undeserved communities, nurse practitioners are again calling for passage of legislation to grant them full practice authority.

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Dr. Antonia Villarruel, Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, says unnecessary restrictions are driving nurse practitioners out of the state.

“This not an issue about quality and safety. There have been hundreds of reports in the last 40 years that have demonstrated that nurse practitioners can and do deliver safe and effective care,” Villarruel said.

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But the Pennsylvania Medical Society says it is about patient safety, citing 15,000 to 16,000 hours of clinical training and supervised patient care for MDs and only 1,500 or less hours for nurse practitioners.

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