Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a final rule to permit full practice authority for three out of four recognized roles of VA advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) which include Certified Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) and Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNMs). The VA has taken an important step to ensure veterans have access to the timely, effective and efficient care they have earned.
However, ANA remains concerned with the final rule’s exclusion of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (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 joins our colleagues in advocating for CRNAs to have full practice authority within the VA health care system.
The VA has provided an additional 30-day comment period on full practice authority for CRNAs.
Good things come to those who wait…at least, it could be said for the 114th Congress.
On December 7th, the Senate passed a package of important health policy advancements aimed at encouraging health care innovation, improving mental health service coverage, expanding opioid treatment programs, and investing in medical research. The package of bills now moves to the President’s desk for his signature. Throughout the year, ANA advocated strongly for many of the key policy victories contained in last night’s vote, including:
- The ‘21st Century Cures Act’ seeks to make the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process for new drugs more efficient and invests $4.8 billion in new medical research at the National Institutes of Health
- Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” H.R. 2646, and the Mental Health Reform Act, S. 2680, – represents comprehensive reforms to mental-health programs at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration within Department of Health and Human Services.
- Funding for Cancer Research: provides funding for $1.8b for Vice President Joe Biden’s “cancer moonshot” program.
- Fighting the Opioid Epidemic: Provides $1 billion over two years to fight the opioid epidemic. ANA worked closely with Congress and the White House throughout the year to pass legislation and secure enough funding to ensure greater access to treatment services.
In anticipation of early action on health system reform, ANA initiated its first official outreach to the incoming Administration. The letter outlines, to President-elect Trump’s transition team, ANA’s principals for any undertaking that would seek to transform our current health system
Highlights from the Letter:
For decades, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has advocated for health care system reforms that would guarantee access to high-quality, affordable health care for all. ANA is calling on you and your administration to prioritize the health of the nation, which is foundational to progress and economic growth. We are pleased to share our principles for health system transformation.
ANA’s Principles for Health System Transformation
- Ensure universal access to a standard package of essential health care services for all citizens and residents.
- Optimize primary, community-based and preventive services while supporting the cost-effective use of innovative, technology-driven, acute, hospital-based services.
- Encourage mechanisms to stimulate economical use of health care services while supporting those who do not have the means to share in costs.
- Ensure a sufficient supply of a skilled workforce dedicated to providing high quality health care services.
Read the full letter here.
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