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About the Issue
Veterans who have served our country deserve quality, safe and effective health care. Limiting APRNs practice in the Veterans Health Administration puts our veterans at risk due to backlogs and waitlists for receiving treatment.
House Could Implement Moratorium Against CRNAs
Late on Friday, September 9, 2016, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-FL) introduced HR 5985, legislation extending expiring Veterans benefit and administrative authorities to run beyond September 30. Problematically, it also includes Sec. 415 establishing a one-year moratorium against the VHA publishing a final rule granting CRNAs Full Practice Authority. The bill is scheduled under expedited "suspension of the rules" procedures for a House vote Tuesday afternoon on September 13, 2016.
Breaking Records to Ensure Veterans’ Access to Care
The nursing community helped break records in expressing support for a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposed rule that would provide full practice authority for APRNs working in the Veterans Health Administration. The VA received an extraordinary number of comments -- more than 177,000 in the docket as of this writing -- during the public comment period, which ended July 25. Prominent groups, including the Federal Trade Commission, AARP, the American Hospital Association, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, all joined ANA in expressing support for the rule.
Working with our partner organizations as part of the Veterans Access to Quality Healthcare Alliance, ANA rallied nurses and other stakeholders to participate in a social media campaign, which reached more than 300,000 people and drove a significant amount of traffic to the VA comment site. Additionally, ANA co-hosted a press conference, published a Huffington Post blog, and submitted letters to the editor that were published in The Washington Post and USA Today in support of veterans’ access to timely, quality health care.
The VA will review the comments and consider next steps -- a process that may take some time because of the high volume of input. Analysis and outcomes will not be determined by the number of "pro" versus "con" comments, but rather will be based on "comments, scientific data, expert opinions, and facts accumulated during the pre-rule and proposed rule stages."
Please check back on this website soon as the VA announces additional decisions on this process.
Additionally, please urge your members of Congress to support H.R. 1247, the Improving Veterans Access to Quality Care Act and S. 2279, the Veterans Health Care Staffing Improvement Act. Both of these bills are consistent with the Institute of Medicine report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which recommends that APRNs working in the VHA practice to the full extent of their education and training.
- Letter from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to Secretary McDonald (7/2016)
- In The Washington Post: Proposed VA rule is about providing better care to veterans (7/2016)
- Fact Sheet — Veterans Access to Quality Care Act
- Veterans Access to Quality Healthcare Alliance
- ANA Press Release
- Letter to Senator Merkley from the Nursing Community (10/2015)
- Letter to Reps. Graves and Schakowsky from the Nursing Community (3/2015)
- WSJ Article: At VHA, Doctors, Nurses Clash on Oversight (1/2014)
- Letter of Support from the Nursing Caucus for VHA Handbook (11/2013)