VA proposes rule to allow CRNAs to expand scope of practice: 5 notes

The Department of Veterans Affairs has published a proposed rule on the Federal Registrar that would allow all advanced practice registered nurses in the VA, including certified registered nurse anesthetists, to provide patient care to "the full extent of their education, training and certification."

Here are five notes:

1. The proposed rule would establish additional professional qualifications an individual must possess to be appointed as an APRN within the VA as well as provide the criteria under which VA may grant full practice authority to an APRN.

2. The proposed rule aims to increase veterans' healthcare access by expanding the pool of qualified healthcare professionals who are authorized to provide care.

3. The American Society of Anesthesiologists released a statement opposing the proposed rule. The statement notes "the policy change is based on a shortage of some types of physicians in VA. However, there is no shortage of physician anesthesiologists and the change is not needed to improve access to anesthesia care in surgery."

4. However, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists released a statement in support of the proposed rule, stating the VA healthcare system is the nation's largest and "in an organization this size, improving access to timely care can be a complex problem." Allowing CRNAs and other APRNs to practice to the full extent of their education and abilities would be a part of the solution to the problem.  

5. The comment period for the rule ends on July 25.

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