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In 2016, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs published a final rule granting veterans direct access to care by nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and clinical nurse specialists who work in the VA health system in order for veterans to gain better access to care . This recent legislative change gives Nurse Practitioners ability to practice to the full extent of their education without the supervision of the physician, apart from prescribing controlled drugs. This change would decrease the wait time for patient care. Many veterans are having to wait about 30 days to a couple or more months to be able to see a physician and by then it may be to late for some. To address the problem, the Department of Veterans Affairs had suggested allowing nurse practitioners to treat patients throughout the system. According to Weir (2016), nurse practitioners only have full-practice authority in 21 states and the District of Columbia so that proposal would grant practitioners within the VA system that authority nationwide. This will permit veterans and their families access to their medical needs in a more respectable and timely manner that they deserve.
The Daily Journal of the United States Government (2016) states, “ This rulemaking increases veteran’s access to VA healthcare by expanding the pool of qualified healthcare professionals who are authorized to provide primary health care and other related health care services to the fill extent of their education, training, and certification, without the clinical supervision of physicians, and it permits VA to use its health care resources more effectively and in a manner that is consistent with the role of APRNs in the non -VA health care sector, while maintaining the patient-centered, safe, high quality health care that veterans receive form VA.” Advanced Practice Registered Nurses will be allowed to make appropriate referrals for patients and families and request consultations and aid in health promotion, disease prevention, health education, and counseling as well as the diagnosis and management of acute and chronic disease ( The Daily Journal of the United States Government, 2016).
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