The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) today called on the Veterans Administration to move quickly to improve veterans’ access to high-quality, timely health care by granting the VA’s nurse practitioners full-practice authority throughout the system. AANP, the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners, also urged Congress to increase the number of nurse practitioners in VA facilities.
According to AANP President Ken Miller, PhD, RN, CFNP, FAAN, the VA has already taken a critically important step to address the current health care crisis. Following the recommendations from nationally renowned policy organizations like the Institute of Medicine, the VA has proposed policy changes that would grant all VA nurse practitioners full-practice authority. However, they have not yet been implemented.
Dr. Miller said there is a simple solution: “Given the current crisis facing our nation’s veterans, we urge the VA to expedite the approval process and move quickly to implement these changes across all VA settings. This will have an immediate and positive impact on the quality and timeliness of care that our veterans receive.”
Currently more than 5,000 Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, including thousands of nurse practitioners, provide services to veterans in VA facilities. Granting full-practice authority would allow nurse practitioners at the VA to practice to the full extent of their education and clinical expertise.
Dr. Miller also urges Members of Congress and the Administration to increase the number of nurse practitioner positions and to allow these qualified professionals to practice to their full scope throughout the VA system.
Nurse practitioners play a critical role in health care delivery across the nation. The vast majority of NPs are primary care providers. Eighty-eight percent are prepared to be primary care clinicians and over seventy-five percent currently practice in primary care settings. In addition to treating acute and chronic illnesses of patients, NPs emphasize health promotion and disease prevention in all their undertakings. Daily practice includes assessments; ordering, performing, supervising and interpreting diagnostic and laboratory tests; making diagnoses; initiating and managing treatment which includes prescribing medications as well as non-pharmacologic treatments; and counselling and educating patients, their families and communities. NPs are the healthcare providers of choice for millions of patients; in fact, more than 900 million visits were made to nurse practitioners in the United States in 2013.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of over 189,000 NPs, including more than 50,000 individual members and 203 organizations, providing a unified networking platform and advocating for their role as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered and personalized health care. The organization provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers.
SOURCE American Association of Nurse Practitioners