AUSTIN, TEXAS — The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP), the largest association of nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties, applauds the Administration’s actions to expand access to NP care and other health care providers during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In a letter sent to all 50 governors issued March 24, 2020, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urged the suspension of state regulatory barriers to practice that limit patient access to care, including NPs.
“The Administration has already taken important steps to lift federal barriers within Medicare and Medicaid so that NPs can combat this crisis. Now, it’s critical that states answer the call to suspend state barriers to care so that America’s 290,000 NPs can meet the urgent needs of patients and address this challenge head on,” said AANP President Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP, FNAP, FAANP.
The letter, which was sent with a guidance document to governors, recommends states expand the capacity of their health care workforce during the COVID-19 National Emergency. The letter and guidance detail recommendations to states on temporarily suspending scope of practice requirements, authorizing providers to practice across state lines (and waiving certification fees), expanding telehealth and relicensing/recertifying retired health care professionals to allow them to quickly re-enter the workforce. The letter also specifically notes the importance of removing restrictions on clinicians, including NPs, providing home-based care.
“Seniors must be able to receive care at home to avoid the risk of contracting COVID-19 in clinical settings. Lifting state restrictions that prevent NPs from providing home-based care will not only improve care for seniors and limit the spread of COVID-19, it will maximize the availability of hospital beds for those with coronavirus. We urge governors to take urgent action now to protect our patients,” said AANP President Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP, FNAP, FAANP.
AANP has called for governors to remove these barriers to care and is pleased Secretary Azar has made this direct request of states.
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 the more than 290,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP 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 NPs’ patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. To locate a nurse practitioner in your community, go to npfinder.com. For more information about NPs, visit aanp.org.