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Advocacy Updates

ANA Opposes the American Health Care Act

After careful review, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has concluded that the recently released the American Health Care Act, or ACHA, does not align with the organization's principles on health care reform, and has issued a letter to leaders on the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees urging them not to support the current legislation.

Not only is ANA concerned that ACHA will result in denying quality, affordable health care to potentially millions of Americans, but we are also deeply troubled that these House committees are moving to pass the bill without a single public hearing. This legislation could fundamentally change the future of care in our country, and this requires consultation with health care providers.

TAKE ACTION NOW: Speak out and send a message to your representative opposing this bill. Tell Congress to stand up for patients and providers.

Home Health Care Planning Improvment Act, S. 445, re-introduced

On February 27, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) re-introduced S. 445, the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act. This legislation would allow nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) and certified nurse midwives (CNMs) to certify their patient's eligibility for home health care services. ANA strongly supports this proposed legislation.

Current Medicare policy prevents these advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) from providing appropriate care for their patients. Medicare has recognized the autonomous practice of these APRNs for nearly two decades, as they provide the majority of skilled care for home health patients. While these health care professionals are authorized to perform face-to-face assessments of a patient’s needs, a physician must certify their assessment. This legislation appropriately removes that burdensome requirement and ensures more timely access to home health services under Medicare.

ANA worked with congressional champions on the bill's introduction and will continue to advocate for its passage.

Bipartisan Title VIII reauthorization bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives

On February 7th, 2017, Congressman David Joyce (R-OH) introduced the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2017. He was joined by a bipartisan group of colleagues, including Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), and Kathy Castor (D-FL).

The legislation would reauthorize and improve nurse workforce programs under Title VIII, which supports nurses practicing in rural and medically underserved communities. It also targets advanced nursing education, diversity grants, National Nurse Service Corp, nurse faculty loan forgiveness, and geriatric education. ANA was instrumental in the introduction of this legislation, and will continue to push for legislation that bolsters nursing education across all levels.

Victory: Veterans & Nurses win Big with VA Rule!

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced an important change: Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) -- including Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) and Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs) -- will now have full practice authority within the VA health system!

This is a win for veterans -- as well as the VA nurses who treat them -- and a regulation for which ANA has been advocating strongly for a number of years. This could not have been possible without the support of nurses across the country submitting public comments on this proposal.

Unfortunately, the rule excludes Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), which is solely based on the VA's belief that there is no evidence of a shortage of anesthesiologists impacting access to care. ANA is committed to advancing full practice authority for all four APRN roles, and will continue our advocacy on behalf of CRNAs within the VA health care system.

Read more about the importance of this rule.

President Obama Signs Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) Into Law

On July 22, 2016, President Obama signed bipartisan legislation that will provide increased access to treatment for patients facing opioid addiction.

Throughout the debate on this legislation in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, ANA actively sought to address barriers and expand access to treatment and prevention services. We are proud to report that the CARA includes key provisions that bolster nurses’ ability to help their patients suffering with substance use disorders.

The legislation marks significant progress and reflects the concerted effort ANA has put forth to advance nursing’s role in fighting the opioid crisis.

The legislation expands access to medication-assisted treatment by allowing Nurse Practitioners, for the first time, to prescribe buprenorphine in accordance with state law. The legislation authorizes this critical treatment option through fiscal year 2021.

About the Legislation:

  • The Agreement amends the definition of qualifying practitioner (previously only physicians), to authorize nurse practitioners to prescribe buprenorphine (medication-assisted treatment).
  • Following 30 first year -- NPs meet the criteria to receive an HHS waiver, nurse practitioners could increase their reach to write prescriptions for as many as 100 patients -- the same limit that applies to physicians who receive a waiver.
  • The measure would authorize an HHS pilot program to expedite the hiring of qualified veterans as civilian health-care professionals, including emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, nurses, physical therapy assistants and physician assistants.
  • The new authority for nurse practitioners would expire at the end of fiscal 2021.
  • The legislation calls for a study that among other things asks the Secretary to consider what additional health providers are appropriate for the expanded authority.

Decoding 2016: The Future of Healthcare - July 19, 2016

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