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.
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.
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.
Decoding 2016: The Future of Healthcare - July 19, 2016
Follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DecodingHC
LHHS-Ed Appropriations Update
On June 9, 2016, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced its fiscal year 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS-ED) spending bill.
The bill includes a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and would invest $229 million for critical funding nurse workforce development programs.
With election season on the horizon, Congress will be looking to recess for the summer by mid-July. The shortened legislative calendar could pose a challenge in passing a bicameral bill ahead the end of the fiscal year on September 30. ANA will continue to work with key members of the appropriations committee and leadership in the House and Senate throughout the process to ensure nurse workforce development programs are appropriately funded.
ANA Endorses Hillary Clinton for President in 2016
On March 22, the American Nurses Association President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, announced that Hillary Clinton has received the organization's endorsement for president. This announcement comes after weeks of voting by ANA members, who overwhelmingly supported Secretary Clinton in the endorsement campaign.