In the U.S. Senate, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) has introduced S. 297, the “Frontlines to Lifelines Act,” a bipartisan bill that would, among other provisions, allow the “independent” practice of certain Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
S. 297, which has been cosponsored by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Tom Udall (D-NM), was principally designed to "hire combat medics, medical technicians, and corpsman straight from active duty service to care for their fellow veterans." However, the legislation also includes provisions to allow “independent” practice for certain nurses, including Nurse Midwives, Clinical Nurse Specialists for mental health and Nurse Practitioners within the VA health system. This bill does not include nurse anesthetists. More information about the “Frontlines to Lifelines Act” is available here.
ASA is pleased that S. 297 appropriately excludes nurse anesthetists. The legislation reflects a growing Congressional consensus that the surgical/anesthesia setting is a high-risk health care environment requiring physician involvement in care.
The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) has expressed displeasure with the legislation and the exclusion of anesthesia from the independent practice provision. You can find a copy of their recent statement below or here.
ASA is continuing to monitor this legislation, and will provide updates as they become available.
Maine Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Your help is needed in thwarting harmful legislation recently introduced in the United States Senate by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). The Frontlines to Lifelines Act (S 297) recognizes advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) working in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) with Full Practice Authority, except for CRNAs. The bill has also been cosponsored by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Tom Udall (D-NM).
Please help stop this damaging course of action by contacting your U.S. Senators today.
This legislation comes at the same time that the VHA is working to modernize its Nursing Handbook to authorize Full Practice Authority (FPA) to CRNAs and other APRNs. The VHA’s effort has come under attack from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and other physician specialty groups who claim that “removing physician-led anesthesia care is a step backwards for patient health and safety.” We have reason to believe that the ASA is now behind S 297 as a political maneuver to halt further VHA action.
Please write your Senators today and ask them to prioritize our nation’s Veterans over politics and recognize all APRNs working in the VHA with Full Practice Authority. We have provided a sample letter for you as guidance, but remember that the most effective letter is in your own words.
Thank you in advance for your time and participation.
Sharon P. Pearce, CRNA, MSN