Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will open a public comment period on a long-debated, just released proposed rule to grant so-called “full practice authority” or independent practice to all Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), including nurse anesthetists, in the VA health system. This proposal, formerly known as the “VHA Nursing Handbook,” has been renamed by VA as the “Advanced Practice Registered Nurses” proposed rule, and will be open for public comment for 60 days starting tomorrow, May 25.
Protect our Veterans. We cannot stand on the sidelines. As advocates for safe care for Veterans, ASA urges all ASA members to participate in the public comment period at www.SafeVACare.org and support the highest quality health care for Veterans by urging the exclusion of nurse anesthetists from the rule when the proposal is finalized.
The publication of this proposed rule does not finalize the APRN proposed regulation/Nursing Handbook. It represents the first part of the formal regulatory process whereby the VA will seek input from interested stakeholders prior to making a final decision. VA will review submitted comments and subsequently issue a final rule/final regulation.
What You Can Do
As part of the 60 day comment period, VA is specifically asking: “To aid in VA’s full consideration to this issue, VA encourages any comments regarding the proposed full practice authority.” With strong comment submissions by ASA members and Veterans’ advocates, this is the opportunity to demand exclusion of anesthesia from this rule. You can read the full proposed rule here.
Please submit comments online at www.SafeVACare.org. ASA has provided some sample language for comments, although personalization and stories are highly encouraged. Fill out your contact information and please remember to check the disclosure agreement box at the bottom.
Once you have completed all steps, your comments will be posted in the Federal Register.
Click Here to Comment at www.SafeVACare.org Now!
Important note: Even if you have already submitted comments, it is important that you submit new comments based on VA’s new specific request for comments.
Since 2013, the proposed VHA Nursing Handbook has been at the center of ASA's advocacy efforts. Physician-led, team-based anesthesia care is the model of surgical anesthesia that has been an important part of VA health care for years. Under the team-based model, physicians and nurses work together to deliver safe, high-quality care to Veterans. But the new proposed VA policy, known as the “Advanced Practice Registered Nurses” rule, formerly known as the VHA Nursing Handbook, will take away the benefit of physician involvement in Veterans’ surgical care by granting so-called “full practice authority” or independent practice for ALL APRNs, including nurse anesthetists, in VA.The VA proposal would supersede state law.
What has ASA done?
To date, ASA has engaged over 90 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, prominent national Veteran organizations and other Veteran health stakeholders in raising concerns about the safety of eliminating physician involvement in Veterans’ anesthesia care. This unprecedented effort has led to VA’s decision to closely examine the appropriateness of the nurse-only model of anesthesia care and to formally seek public input into the decision.
ASA will continue to review the proposed rule and will provide ASA members with additional resources and updates in the coming days.
Questions? Contact Amanda Cate with the ASA Advocacy Division at (202) 289-2222 or [email protected].
Thank you for your continued advocacy on behalf of the specialty and our nation’s Veterans.
Daniel Cole, M.D.
ASA Chief Executive Officer
Manuel Bonilla, M.S.
ASA Chief Advocacy Officer