17 Jan VA Amends Regulations to Allow APRNs to Oversee Veterans’ Healthcare
Many veterans are forced to wait for hours beyond their scheduled appointment times to be seen by their VA healthcare providers. When they call to schedule an appointment, they may have to wait for up to eight months to get in. For a long while, the VA has needed to make a drastic overhaul when it comes to meeting the needs of our veterans. While the system is still far from perfect, the VA’s final rule on APRNs goes a long ways toward improving the quality of care and service that our veterans need and deserve.
What is the Final Rule?
Up until recently, the VA has not allowed nurse practitioners (NPs) or Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to oversee the diagnosis and treatment of patients without the supervision of a physician. Such a rule meant that VA physicians had to handle hundreds to thousands of caseloads on their own, which resulted in longer wait times for veterans and lower quality of care by overworked physicians. However, with the passing of the final rule, NPs working in VA systems are given authority to independently assess, diagnose, and even prescribe medications to their patients without the supervision of a physician—even in states where an NP’s care must be supervised by a physician.
What This Means for Veterans
While this ruling will have lasting effects for both NPs and veterans alike, the greatest outcome of the final rule is that veterans will no longer have to wait days, weeks, or even months for primary care services. This final ruling has exponentially expanded the pool of qualified healthcare professionals who are allowed to provide primary healthcare and related services to veterans without the supervision of physicians.
Additionally, because the final rule eases the caseload for VA physicians, veterans are likely to see an increase in the quality of care and service that they receive from both physicians and nurse practitioners alike.
A Change in the New Year
For too long, the VA system has been stuck in controversy, accused of mismanagement and not providing the timely and quality care that our veterans need and deserve. However, lawmakers have finally taken notice, and are working to enact new regulations that are meant to improve the VA system as a whole. Their first step is to combat the doctor shortage within the system, by granting qualified NPs the power otherwise reserved for a physician.
Get Help From a Mount Pleasant, SC Veterans’ Disability Benefits Attorney
At Klok Law Firm LLC, we advocate on the behalf of U.S. veterans for better care and fulfillment of rights. If you or a loved one is a U.S. veteran, and if you believe that you are being treated unfairly by the VA system, contact the veterans’ benefits attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC online to schedule a consultation today.