Press Releases & Announcements

AANP Voices Support for Senate Bill Empowering Nurse Practitioners in the Veterans Health Administration

Nurse Practitioners Call on Congress to Pass the Frontlines to Lifelines Act

AUSTIN, TX (June 2, 2015) – The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is voicing its support for the Frontlines to Lifelines Act (S 297), a bill being heard tomorrow by the U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. The legislation, introduced by Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill), would better ensure timely access to care for our nation's veterans by granting the more than 4,000 nurse practitioners who practice in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) full-practice authority, meaning the ability to practice to the full scope of their education and clinical training.

AANP notes the bill could do more for veterans by granting full-practice authority to Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in addition to nurse practitioners.

For fifty years, nurse practitioners with full-practice authority have been providing vital health services that independent researchers overwhelmingly deem safe and high-quality, with outcomes that are equivalent to those of physicians. Their ability to practice to the full scope of their preparation streamlines care delivery and alleviates delays, an urgent necessity at VA facilities.

"The current policy of limiting nurse practitioner practice in the VHA impairs veterans' access to care, risks lengthening delays in health care delivery, increases health care costs, and fails to promote patient safety," said AANP President Elect Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, who spent twelve years providing primary care services to active duty and retired military personnel and their families at the Fox Army Health Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "We urge Congress to advance this bill – a zero-cost, zero-delay, zero-risk solution that will immediately bring improvements in care to the brave men and women who have served their country. We also call on Congress to support additional measures that would similarly empower CRNAs at VA facilities."

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. Supporters include the Institute of Medicine, AARP, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Josiah Macey Foundation, the National Governors Association and the Federal Trade Commission.

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 61,000 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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