Nurse Practitioners and Veterans Call on VA to Enact Proposed Rule

This Veterans Day, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the nation’s largest organization of nurse practitioners, and Veterans Deserve Care, a grassroots coalition committed to reducing wait times in VA facilities, are calling for the swift enactment of a US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposal that would help ensure timely health care access for our nation’s veterans in VA facilities.

Two years after it was first reported that veterans were waiting far too long for health care in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), over 530,000 veterans are still waiting 30 days or longer for care. To address this troubling situation, the VA has proposed granting veterans full and direct access to the more than 4,800 nurse practitioners (NPs) working in the VHA, enabling NPs to practice to the full scope of their education and clinical training.

“For more than fifty years, nurse practitioners have proudly treated our men and women in uniform, ensuring them the high-quality health care they deserve,” said AANP President Dr. Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP. “This Veterans Day, we urge the VA to take immediate action to enact this proposed rule for the benefit of our nation’s veterans.”

“We can all agree that veterans have waited long enough to get the health care they deserve,” said CMSgt Robert L. Frank, USAF (ret.), chief executive officer of the Air Force Sergeants Association. “Before our new President takes office, we call on the VA to enact the proposed rule.”

Today, 21 states and the District of Columbia grant nurse practitioners full-practice authority, and a growing chorus of organizations and government bodies has called for others to follow suit. Organizations including the National Academy of Medicine, AARP, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Josiah Macey Foundation, National Governors Association and the Federal Trade Commission have all urged support for removing unnecessary barriers to NP practice.

“We must embrace new approaches to address the challenges facing the current system,” added Cooke. “The proposed rule is a zero-cost, zero-risk solution to strengthening health care access and will provide much-needed relief for our veterans waiting for care.”

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and Air Force Sergeants Association strongly support enactment of the rule. America’s 222,000 nurse practitioners stand ready to meet the needs of patients, inside and outside of the veterans health system.

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 222,000 NPs, including more than 70,000 individual members and 200 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. For more information, visit To locate a nurse practitioner in your area, visit

Veterans Deserve Care is a grassroots coalition led by organizations including the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), Air Force Sergeants Association, veterans organizations, veterans, caregivers, and nurse practitioners (NPs). This year, the coalition submitted nearly 60,000 comments to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in support of a proposed rule that would give veterans direct access to nurse practitioners in VA facilities.

SOURCE American Association of Nurse Practitioners

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