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AANP Hails VA for Advancing Regulatory Proposal to Grant Veterans Full and Direct Access to Nurse Practitioners

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners Joins Advanced Practice Nursing Organizations in Praising Regulatory Proposal

AUSTIN, TX -- The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) today applauds the VA for taking the critical step of putting forth a regulatory proposal which would ensure veterans have direct access to advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including nurse practitioners.

This regulatory proposal once made final would authorize NPs to practice to the top of their education while retaining state-based requirement on controlled substances consistent with the Controlled Substances Act; thus improving veterans' access to high-quality care and streamlining the delivery of needed health services. Currently, more than 4,800 nurse practitioners are employed at VA facilities.

"Veterans stand to significantly benefit from this essential VA policy update, which gives them unencumbered access to nurse practitioners and the excellent, compassionate and patient-centered care they provide," said AANP President Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, who spent over a decade providing primary care services to active duty and retired military personnel and their families. "We join our APRN colleagues in thanking the VA for their leadership on this important issue and for prioritizing the health care needs of the brave men and women who have served our country."

The proposed rule provides a comment period of sixty (60) days. AANP will be working with our nursing colleagues and will provide comprehensive comments.

For more than fifty years, nurse practitioners have been providing vital health care services that independent researchers overwhelmingly have documented as safe and high-quality, with outcomes that are equivalent to those of physicians.

The number of nurse practitioners licensed in the United States has nearly doubled over the past ten years, rising from approximately 106,000 in 2004 to 205,000 in 2014. The vast majority are primary care providers with 88 percent prepared in primary care and more than 75 percent currently practicing in primary care settings. In addition to diagnosing and treating acute and chronic illnesses, nurse practitioners emphasize health promotion and disease prevention in the care of their patients. Daily practice includes: assessment, ordering, performing, supervising and interpreting diagnostic and laboratory tests, making diagnoses, initiating and managing treatment including prescribing medication (as well as non-pharmacologic treatments), coordination of care, counseling, and educating patients, their families and communities.

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 more than 205,000 NPs, including more than 68,000 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.

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