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AANP Applauds Senate Introduction of ICAN Act

Bill would remove practice barriers for nurse practitioners

Media Contact: Bryan Black

WASHINGTON — The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) thanks Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for introducing the Improving Care and Access to Nurses (ICAN) Act in the U.S. Senate. The House companion bill, H.R. 8812, was introduced on Sept. 13, by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH). This legislation would improve health care access for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries by removing federal barriers to practice for nurse practitioners (NPs) and other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). The ICAN Act is supported by more than 160 national, state and local organizations.

“Today, millions of Medicare and Medicaid patients choose NPs as their health care providers, and it is critical these patients receive timely, high-quality health care from their providers of choice. The ICAN Act will eliminate outdated barriers to care that impede the progress of our health care system,” said AANP President April Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN. “AANP is thrilled that Sen. Merkley has introduced the ICAN Act in the U.S. Senate and has taken another step forward to improve health care delivery for Medicare and Medicaid patients.”

NPs provide health care to Medicare and Medicaid patients across all geographic areas and health care settings. Approximately 40% of Medicare beneficiaries receive care from NPs, and NPs are the fastest-growing Medicare provider group. Yet, despite the essential health care NPs provide to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, barriers still exist within the programs that prevent NPs from practicing to the full extent of their education and clinical training.

The ICAN Act would increase access to medically necessary health care services for patients across the country by removing outdated federal barriers to care. This bill would authorize NPs to order and supervise cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, certify when patients with diabetes need therapeutic shoes, have their patients fully included in the beneficiary attribution process for the Medicare Shared Savings Program, refer patients for medical nutrition therapy, certify and recertify a patient’s terminal illness for hospice eligibility, perform all mandatory examinations in skilled nursing facilities, and more. These common-sense steps will update the Medicare and Medicaid programs to reflect the modern health care workforce and ensure patients continue to receive the high-quality health care they need and deserve — from their chosen health care provider.


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 355,000 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 an NP in your community, visit For more information about NPs, visit

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