Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) provide high-quality, affordable health care especially in areas where access to physicians is limited, particularly in medically-underserved urban and remote rural areas. Currently APRNs with patients who need home health care services are forced to delay care for dangerously long times to their patients while they locate a physician who will verify their assessments. Not only is the patient inconvenienced by these delays, their health is jeopardized and Medicare incurs increased costs while beneficiaries are unnecessarily left in more expensive institutional settings or discharged prematurely without appropriate services.
Current Medicare policy prevents these APRNs from providing appropriate, timely care for their patients. Medicare has recognized the autonomous practice of these APRNs for nearly two decades, as they provide most of the skilled care for home health patients. While these health care professionals are authorized to perform face-to-face assessments of a patient's needs, a physician must certify the assessment.
The American Nurses Association is urging lawmakers to co-sponsor the bipartisan Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (H.R. 2150 / S. 296), which will allow nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), and certified nurse midwives (CNMs) to order home health care services without physician approval. This act would protect patients and improve the efficiency of health care delivery by allowing the three APRN groups to sign the final care plan to order home health care services for their most vulnerable patients.
Please contact your lawmakers and urge them to support efforts to allow APRNS to get their patients the care they need!