Pending Federal Legislation Would Give Veterans Full Access to APRN Services

While a number of states have granted APRNs full practice authority so they can practice to the full extent of their training and education, this has not yet taken place at Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities. Bill 1247 in the House of Representatives would grant APRNs the power to improve access to health care for veterans.

The legislation would make a big difference in meeting veterans’ health care needs. This is particularly critical for veteran health care institutions since staffing levels are often at lower levels than needed, and the VA is working towards providing high quality health care services to all of America’s Veterans. Passing this bill would maximize care delivery and minimize wait times and delay of care for veterans.

This legislation would affect all four types of APRNs—nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwifes, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists.

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Currently, APRNs in VHA facilities are subject to the rules of the states in which they are licensed. Some states have more liberal practice regulations, while others limit APRNs’ scope of practice.

The bill is consistent with the recommendations of the 2010 Institute of Medicine report on the future of nursing and proposals currently being considered in the VHA. Bill 1247 has the strong backing of a number of high profile nursing organizations:

  • The American Nurses Association
  • The American Association of Colleges of Nursing
  • The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
  • American College of Nurse Midwives
  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners