Nurse practitioners to lobby for VA proposal

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The American Association of Nurse Practitioners is launching a national ad campaign to raise public awareness of a proposal to expand the practice authority for advanced practice registered nurses in the VA Health Care System.  

The campaign will include national TV and radio ads, digital media and grassroots efforts to raise awareness about the proposal. A report from Forbes says the campaign budget is seven figures — the AANP's largest yet.

At issue is a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs proposal from May that would give APRNs full practice authority to certified NPs, certified registered nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse-midwives. This means APRNs would be able to provide care to veterans without physician supervision.

The hope is expanding the scope of practice for the VA's 4,800 NPs will grow the pool of providers for veterans, who continue to face long wait times to see a physician. Roughly 300,000 veterans are waiting between 31 and 60 days to see a physician and another 505,000 are wait-listed for 30 days to make an appointment, according to the VA.  

"We bring a 50-year track record of service to patients, including those in our nation's military and veterans," Cindy Cooke, DNP, president of AANP, who is also a certified family nurse practitioner, said in a statement announcing the ad campaign. "The proposed rule is zero risk at zero cost to ensure that our veterans have zero delay to access needed, timely care in the VA system. After all, one veteran left waiting for care is one veteran too many."

However, the AANP will likely be up against several other powerful healthcare lobbyists, such as the American Medical Association and American Society of Anesthesiologists, both of which have voiced concerns with the proposal.

"While the AMA supports the VA in addressing the challenges that exist within the VA health system, we believe that providing physician-led, patient-centered, team-based patient care is the best approach to improving quality care for our country's veterans. We feel this proposal will significantly undermine the delivery of care within the VA," AMA board chair Stephen Permut, MD, said in a statement in May.

The AANP invites public to comments on the proposal at VeteransDeserveCare.org.

 

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