The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) on Tuesday announced its policy priorities for the coming year, with an emphasis on expanding the role of nurse practitioners at the Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) and passing the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act.
The association is hoping nurse practitioners will play a large role in the VA restructuring plan announced by Secretary Robert McDonald in September. The department plans to hire tens of thousands of new clinicians to reduce the lengthy wait times that caused a scandal earlier this year.
Your country wants you—but only if you're good—to work in the VA
In a statement, AANP President Ken Miller said, "Nurse practitioners are willing and able to assist in increasing veterans' access to the medical care they deserve." AANP is also asking the VA to expand the role of nurse practitioners to include diagnosing patients, ordering tests, and prescribing medication.
Meanwhile, on the legislative front, AANP is urging the passage of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act, which would allow nurse practitioners to certify Medicare patients to receive home health benefits.
Miller emphasized that expanding the role of nurse practitioners was good for patients. "With countless Americans struggling to access high-quality, timely health services… it is critical that these efforts continue building momentum at the federal and state levels, and within the health care industry," he said (AANP release, 11/10; Library of Congress, accessed 11/13; Wheeler, The Hill, 11/10).
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