SILVER SPRING, Md., July 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With only a few days left in the public comment period, the American Nurses Association (ANA) and a coalition of nursing and veterans service organizations continue to highlight the need for approval of a Veterans Administration (VA) proposed rule that would empower Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) and improve the VA's capacity to provide timely, high quality care to the nation's veterans.
The comment period for the proposed rule closes July 25 and has generated over 80,000 comments from veterans, health care providers and the general public. The number of comments is unprecedented. For context, a combined total of 6,030 comments have been posted during more than 150 VA comment opportunities over the last 10 years.
"What the VA is proposing is what we've always known to be true, that APRNs stand ready to provide veterans with high quality health care," said ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. "This level of interest in the proposed rule shows that people are concerned about the quality of veterans' health care and want solutions that will ensure access to care and keep our veterans healthy."
APRNs are skilled health care practitioners who have fulfilled specific advanced educational and clinical practice requirements. The four APRN roles are Certified Nurse Practitioners (CNP), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) and Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS).
There are currently 6,000 APRNs working within the VA health care system. The rule would allow APRNs to practice to the full scope of their education and training, maximize the effective use of health care resources within the VA, and provide optimal care to veterans. ANA's comment letter to VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald echoed the VA's sound science and reasoning behind the rule and addressed opposing views.
In June, ANA, along with the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA) and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) held a press conference in Washington, D.C. to emphasize the importance of allowing veterans direct access to APRNs and their services as a way to cut wait times from weeks and months to immediate appointments.
The need to cut waiting times for veterans was also echoed by various speakers, including Captain (Ret.) Kathryn Beasley, USN, PhD, FACHE, Military Officers Association of America; ANA CEO Marla J. Weston, PhD, RN, FAAN; and Chief Master Sergeant Robert L. Frank, United States Air Force (Ret.), Air Force Sergeants Association.
The proposed rule is also supported by AARP, whose membership includes 3.7 million veteran households, and 80 bipartisan members of Congress.
Comments on the proposed rule can be submitted until Monday, July 25, 11:59 p.m. ET, to RNAction.org or https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=VA-2016-VHA-0011-0001.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 3.6 million registered nurses. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all.
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SOURCE American Nurses Association