TMA Opposes VA's APRN Proposal

It's a bad idea. 

That's the gist of what TMA, the American Medical Association, and other state medical societies say in a letter to Robert Petzel, MD, undersecretary for health in the Department of Veterans Affairs about the proposal in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Nursing Handbook to designate advanced practice nurses (APRNs) as independent providers and allow them to practice without physician supervision regardless of individual state regulations.

"We are concerned that some of the changes proposed may significantly undermine the delivery of care within the VHA while disregarding the states' role in regulating the health and safety of their residents in the delivery of health care services," the letter says. It adds the proposal "effectively eliminates physician-led, team-based care within the VHA system. In lieu of team-based care, the draft handbook requires APRNs to attain independent practice and penalizes those who do not wish to attain this status by prohibiting such APRNs from practicing as APRNs within the VHA. Similarly, local facilities that wish to continue to provide physician-led, team-based care will be prohibited from doing so."

They urge federal officials to revise the handbook to "ensure that current VHA policies in support of physician-led health care teams and state-based licensure and regulation remain unchanged."  

Action, Nov. 1, 2013