Press Releases & Announcements

Nurse Practitioners Urge Solution for VA Health Delays This Veterans Day

AANP Presses for Full Utilization of Nurse Practitioners in VA Settings

AUSTIN, TX (November 6, 2015) -- The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is marking Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11, by calling for a common sense solution that would immediately improve access to vital health care services for our nation's veterans. 

AANP is urging the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Congress to grant full-practice authority to all advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) employed at VA facilities, including its nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives.

Full-practice authority allows APRNs such as NPs the ability to practice to the full scope of their education and clinical training. Widely regarded as a key means of solving health care access issues, the regulatory measure can be used to streamline health services for our nation's veterans, eliminating redundancies and bottlenecks, and alleviating delays in care delivery. 

NPs with full-practice authority have patient outcomes that are equivalent to and often better than those of physicians, according to fifty years of peer-reviewed research. Such data-driven evidence has led national policy organizations and government bodies – the Federal Trade Commission, AARP, Institute of Medicine, National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures – to urge greater autonomy for NPs across the nation. Currently, 21 states and the District of Columbia grant NPs full-practice authority.

"On behalf of the men and women who have bravely served our country in uniform, we ask our Congressional leaders and Secretary McDonald to fully utilize the 4,800 NPs who work across VA settings," said AANP president Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, a family nurse practitioner who spent twelve years providing primary care services to active duty and retired military personnel and their families. "With full-practice authority, these expertly prepared, high-quality clinicians can play an even greater role meeting the health care needs of veterans nationwide."

NPs have become an increasingly vital segment of today’s health care workforce and represent one of the fastest growing professions in health care today. With master’s and often doctoral-level education, they provide primary, acute and specialty health services, including mental health care, serving patients from all socioeconomic backgrounds, and across both urban and rural settings.

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 65,000 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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