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Ask Your Lawmaker to Stop VA ONS Initiative Mandating Independent Practice for Nurses

Friday, November 01, 2013

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is currently considering a series of policy changes that dramatically change surgical anesthesia care available to our nation's Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). 

Please support ASA's efforts to preserve current anesthesia policies within the VA.

Call or email your local Member of Congress and U.S. Senators and ask them to please support ASA's efforts to preserve current anesthesia policies within the VA.

Currently, the Office of Nursing Services (ONS) within the VHA is working to advance a new proposed document known as the “VHA Nursing Handbook.” Now in its final draft, this policy document would change the delivery of health care to Veterans.  Specifically, the new Nursing Handbook, if approved, would REQUIRE ALL APRNs, including nurse anesthetists, to attain "independent status."  This broad policy change is in direct conflict with current VHA surgical anesthesia policies and would adversely impact the delivery of care to Veterans in the VHA.

ASA supports the retention of the current VHA surgical anesthesia policies found in the longstanding VHA "Anesthesia Service" Handbook.  This Handbook serves as THE policy directive for anesthesia services within the VA.  The current anesthesia policy provides for team-based care when both physicians and nurses are available and deference to local decision making by the Chief of Anesthesiology of the facility.  In contrast, the ONS’ proposed "Nursing Handbook" would supersede the team-based care standard requiring “independent status” and require local facilities to implement the new privileges for APRNs, including nurse anesthetists, even if local physician leaders object.

Urge your lawmakers to support ASA's efforts to preserve current anesthesia policies within the VA today!

Read the ASA “One-Pager” on the VA APRN issue.

Read the VA Office of Nursing Services (ONS) Explanatory Document.

Read the Final Draft of the VHA Nursing Handbook.

Press Coverage on APRN Issue:

"Proposed VA Nursing Rule Riles Anesthesiologists" - MedPage Today

If you have any questions, please contact Pat Daly of the ASA Advocacy Division in Washington, D.C. at (202)289-2222.

Thank you for your advocacy.

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