Healthcare Insider Blog

Nurse Practitioners and VA team up to bring more care to veterans

  • Healthcare Alvernia

nurse practitioners lobby for veterans care
In July the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), with support from veterans, citizens and caregivers across the country, launched its new campaign, “Veterans Deserve Care”.

This campaign is a follow up to the proposed rule issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) back in May that, if passed, will grant veterans direct access to care delivered by advanced practice registered nurses and allow nurse practitioners full practice authority within the VA system.

Pennsylvania alone has approximately 939,069 veterans, one of the largest veteran populations in the U.S. — many of whom are in need of assistance and care.

In the nation as a whole, there are hundreds of thousands of veterans seeking healthcare who are waitlisted for anywhere between 30 days to several months to years. The VA Office of Inspector General reported an estimated 307,000 veterans have died while awaiting care.

There are 4,800 nurse practitioners currently working across the VA — carrying out clinical assessments, ordering/interpreting diagnostic tests, making diagnoses, managing treatment plans, and prescribing medicines. However, in the eyes of the AANP, these thousands of men and women are not being used to their full potential.

“With full-practice authority, these expertly prepared, high-quality clinicians can play an even greater role meeting the healthcare needs of veterans nationwide,” said AANP president Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP.

Though this initiative is widely supported by doctors of nursing practice as well as countless veterans and citizens, it has faced some opposition from various physician groups.

“Today’s nurse practitioners show outcomes equivalent to or better than their physician counterparts,” says Cooke, standing her ground against claims that nurse practitioners are not equipped to take on full practice authority. “It’s time to make this care more readily available to veterans and honor veterans and heroes with the high-quality healthcare they deserve.”

Those enrolled in the Alvernia Doctor of Nursing Practice program will be well prepared to work with a wide range of patient populations, including veterans.

Thus far, the proposed rule has received over 40,000 comments — the most in VA history. If you would like to share your thoughts and comments on the proposed rule it will be open to public comment until July 25, 2016.

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