Evidence Trumps Politics When It Comes to APRNs

Jennifer Thew, RN, July 5, 2016

Nursing and veterans' organizations have united to advocate for adoption of the VA's proposal to allow its advanced practice registered nurses full practice authority.

Juan Quintana
Juan Quintana

It's time to put egos and hyperbole aside and start focusing on improving U.S veterans' access to timely, high-quality healthcare, nursing and veterans' organizations say.

A recent news conference addressed the Department of Veterans Affairs' proposal to amend its medical regulations and permit "full practice authority of all VA advanced practice registered nurses when they are acting within the scope of their VA employment."

"It's time for evidence to trump politics when it comes to the health of our veterans. And there's no evidence for the arguments of the groups opposing the rule [it's] all baseless rhetoric," said Juan Quintana, DNP, MHS, CRNA, president, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, during the June 28 news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

In addition to the AANA, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the American Nurses Association, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the Air Force Sergeants Association, and the Military Officers Association of America, voiced their support for the rule during the event.

Unacceptable Wait Times

Par for the course, the American Medical Association and other physician's organizations are against the proposal.

They claim that allowing APRNs full-practice authority "will significantly undermine the delivery of care within the VA," and that veterans' deserve access to physician expertise.

What these physicians' groups don't seem to understand is that access to care has already been compromised.

Despite the 2014 high-profile scandal regarding VA wait-times, a U.S. Government Accountability Office review released in April 2016 found that many of the veterans it surveyed  "waited from 22 days to 71 days from their requests that VA contact them to schedule appointments to when they were seen."

"The waiting is unacceptable," says CMSGT Robert L. Frank, USAF (Ret), chief executive officer of the AFSA. "We're excited about this rule to allow the 6,000 APRNs currently employed by the VHA to be used to their full potential. Let them serve our veterans."

Jennifer Thew, RN

Jennifer Thew, RN is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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