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Capitol Connection - June 7, 2016

Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act
June 7, 2016

VA Extends Full Practice Authority to APRNs
To expand veterans’ access to quality health care and help reduce wait times, the US Department of Veterans Affairs has published a proposed rule extending what it defines as full practice authority to advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) serving in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), triggering a 60-day public comment period ending on July 25, 2016.

The VHA proposal appears here and was published in the Federal Register on May 25. The rule protects veteran patient safety, defines full practice authority within the VHA system and its facilities, and defines an APRN as a person who has successfully completed an accredited graduate-level educational program in one of the four distinct APRN roles (certified nurse practitioner, certified registered nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist, and certified nurse-midwife), has passed a national certification exam, and possesses licensure in a state.

The proposal is consistent with the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, the congressionally mandated Independent Assessment of the VA, and current policy in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Forward Surgical Teams, and Indian Health Service health systems.

The NLN will be submitting comments in support of the VHA proposed rule and we urge you to do so as well. To support the VHA proposed rule, you can submit a public comment to the secretary of veterans affairs.

Is Your Representative a Cosponsor of H.R. 2713?
Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH) introduced H.R. 2713, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act last year. H.R. 2713 reauthorizes the Title VIII nursing workforce development programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and also amends the advanced educating nursing (AEN) grants to include clinical nurse specialists and clinical nurse leaders in the AEN definition. H.R. 2713 ensures the Title VIII programs will continue to address the specific needs of the nursing and nurse faculty workforce as well as patients in our communities.

Currently, H.R. 2713 has 65 cosponsors and we need more in order to move H.R. 2713 out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Tell your US representative to cosponsor H.R. 2713. Don’t forget to pass this message on to another NLN member and share with your constituent league members.

The NLN has more detailed information about the Title VIII programs.

Mental Health Reform Legislation to Advance in June
The House Energy and Commerce committee will mark up a major mental health reform bill in June. The bill, sponsored by Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA), has long been delayed amid controversy, but revisions to the House bill have recently been circulated. It was six months ago when the committee’s Health Subcommittee approved H.R. 2646 after a grueling 10-hour markup, during which lawmakers sparred over patient privacy rights and court-ordered outpatient treatment programs. Cost was also a major issue at the markup. Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Representative Murphy, and others are working out controversial elements and developing a manager's amendment that could satisfy most members.

The announcement is a new sign of movement on the bill, as the Senate also tries to move forward with its own mental health measure. Still, there is a long road ahead. Bridging the gap with the Senate would likely require substantial negotiations.

The next edition of the Capitol Connection will be published on July 5, 2016.

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