July 23, 2015
AANA Effort to Mandate VA "Independent" Nurse-Only Anesthesia Model Fails in Senate
On July 22, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee advanced a variety of bills aimed at improving Veterans’ access to health care but the committee responsibly did not include provisions related to "independent" practice of advance practice nurses, including nurse anesthetists.
As part of consideration of the Veterans bills, AANA had lobbied to advance modified provisions of S.297, the Frontlines to Lifelines Act, directing VA to abandon team-based anesthesia and authorize a nurse-only model of anesthesia care. The effort was not successful.
Provisions from S.297, not related to nursing practice, were included in other legislation the Committee passed.
ASA applauds the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee for their efforts to advance legislation which would fill gaps in care within VA and improve access to care for Veterans while not compromising patient safety. ASA is also pleased that efforts to include provisions that would remove physician anesthesiologists from Veterans’ care teams were not successful. Team-based, physician-led anesthesia care within VA continues to receive bipartisan support from Congress, and ASA-supported provisions related to the proposed VHA Nursing Handbook, which would mandate a nurse-only model of practice, continue to advance in Congressional appropriations.
While ASA awaits publication of the VHA Nursing Handbook, leadership and staff will continue tracking legislative developments related to this publication.
Watch the Committee markup.
Request a meeting with your lawmaker during the August district work period to discuss the importance of physician-led care.
Read more about S. 297.