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NPs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who are prepared at the masters or doctoral level to provide primary, acute, chronic and specialty care to patients of all ages and backgrounds. Daily practice includes: assessment; ordering, performing, supervising and interpreting diagnostic and laboratory tests; making diagnoses; initiating and managing treatment including prescribing medication and non-pharmacologic treatments; coordinating care; counseling; and educating patients and their families and communities. NPs hold prescriptive authority in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and complete more than one billion patient visits annually.
Nationwide, patients are choosing NPs as their health care providers. Studies continue to show that NP provided health care is high quality and cost effective. NPs comprise over a quarter of our primary care workforce, with a higher percentage in rural communities. Federal health programs have long recognized the importance of nurse practitioners. NPs are primary care providers within the Medicare and Medicaid programs and have full practice authority within the Veterans Health Administration and Indian Health Services. They are also included in the definition of an “acceptable medical source” by the Social Security Administration for the purposes of certifying that an individual has a medically determinable impairment.
Currently, federal employees can select an NP as their health care provider under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and the majority of states authorize NPs to provide the diagnosis and treatment for a workplace related injury. However, contrary to the workers’ compensation process in most states, FECA requires that only a physician can make the diagnosis, certify the injury and extent of the disability, and oversee the patient’s treatment and care. This barrier places an additional burden on the over 2 million federal employees, depriving them from receiving health care from their provider of choice, as well as hindering timely access to care and continuity of care.
AANP calls on Members of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 6087, the Improving Access to Workers’ Compensation for Injured Federal Workers Act, to authorize NPs to certify disabilities and oversee treatment for injured federal employees under FECA.
For additional information, please contact the AANP Government Affairs Office at 703-740-2529 or firstname.lastname@example.org.