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ANA Hails Introduction of Bill to Expand Access to Advanced Practice RNs

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Specializes in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele. Has 27 years experience.

ANA Hails Introduction of Bill to Expand

Access to Advanced Practice RNs

Medicaid Advanced Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants Access Act

Restores Previous Federal Mandate Silver Spring, MD - The American Nurses Association (ANA) today applauded Congressman John W. Olver (D-MA) who introduced bipartisan legislation that would expand patient access to quality health care by requiring states to offer Medicaid coverage for primary health-care services provided by advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). The Medicaid Advanced Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants Access Act of 2005, H.R. 2716, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 26, would eliminate the option that state Medicaid plans currently have of denying APRNs as primary care case managers.

Principal sponsors of the bill are Reps. Olver, Sherwood Boehlert, (R-NY), Steven C. LaTourette, (R-OH) and Lois Capps (D-CA).

ANA President Barbara Blakeney, MS, RN, hailed Rep. Olver's introduction of the bill. "In terms of quality of care, patient satisfaction and cost-effectiveness, APRNs are among the best values in health care," Blakeney said. "APRNs are particularly important in providing primary care services in underserved and rural communities," she added.

APRNs are registered nurses who have attained advanced education and expertise and specialize in such medical fields as pediatrics, anesthesiology, gerontology, neonatology and mental health. APRNs include nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse-midwives and certified registered nurse anesthetists. However, Medicaid plans in many states currently recognize only physicians and do not cover primary care services provided by APRNS. The proposed measure would help to control Medicaid spending by offering Medicaid beneficiaries more and often less-expensive primary-care provider options.

"In areas with a shortage of physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants can be more accessible," Olver said. "Current law, however, often denies Medicaid beneficiaries access to these health care providers," he added. "This bill would go a long way toward improving health care in many rural and medically-underserved areas of the country, including the 1st Congressional district of Massachusetts."

The Medicaid Advanced Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants Access Act of 2005 would restore a previous federal mandate to cover the primary-care services of nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives. This mandate was eliminated by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which encouraged states to move Medicaid recipients into managed care but gave states the option to exclude APRNs as participants. The bill also proposes to expand Medicaid fee-for-service coverage to include direct reimbursement for all nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists (instead of only the family practitioners, pediatric practitioners and midwives who are currently covered). In addition, Medicaid managed-care panels would be required to recognize the services of APRNs - including the pain management services provided by nurse anesthetists and mental health services provided by clinical nurse specialists - thus clarifying the scope of providers required by managed care plans to specifically include APRNs.

Blakeney highlighted the fact that the bill would restore Medicaid coverage for the case-management services of nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives. "This is a long-awaited correction that provides both clarity and just reimbursement for advanced practice nurses in these categories," she noted. "The ANA commends Rep. Olver for introducing this much-needed legislation, and we look forward to working with him to ensure its enactment."

Source: http://www.nursingworld.org/pressrel/2005/pr0601.htm

This is great. Physicians are in short supply in the more rural areas of my rural state. It makes sense to allow access to providers who are willing to go in and provide care to patients who traditionally don't have regular and consistent access to a physician. This may take some burden off the EDs in those areas.

Thunderwolf, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatric, Behavioral Health. Has 32 years experience.

Long overdue.

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