Timely Health Care for Veterans Supported in Bipartisan Senate Bill

  • Nov 12, 2015

CRNAs and Other APRNs Back Veterans Health Care Staffing Improvement Act

For Immediate Release: November 12, 2015    
For More Information Contact:  Chris Bettin

Washington, D.C.—Bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate on Nov. 10 expands access to timely, quality healthcare for America’s veterans by directing the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to allow Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to provide patient care to the full extent of their education and abilities.
The “Veterans Health Care Staffing Improvement Act” was introduced by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and other co-sponsors from both parties, and is supported by the 49,000-member American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).
In addition to directing the VHA to extend full practice authority to CRNAs and other APRNs, the bill also removes bureaucratic barriers to healthcare professionals’ privileging and credentialing within the VHA, and encourages former military healthcare personnel to join the VHA for healthcare services.
“Veterans are waiting too long for quality healthcare that they deserve and have earned,” said AANA President Juan Quintana, CRNA, DNP, MHS. “The AANA strongly supports this legislation which will reduce veterans’ wait times for high quality healthcare by recognizing CRNAs and other APRNs to their full practice authority.”
The legislation is the result of an independent assessment that Congress ordered of the VA and published last month, which recommended that allowing CRNAs and other APRNs to practice to the full extent of their education and abilities would increase veterans’ access to care, reduce wait times, and save money. The proposal is also consistent with recommendations made previously by the Institute of Medicine, and is supported by more than 40 veteran and healthcare professional organizations, including the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Military Officers Association of America, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Additional cosponsors include Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
About the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists