The American Nurses Association is urging lawmakers to co-sponsor the bipartisan Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (S. 445/H.R. 1825), which will allow nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), and certified nurse midwives (CNMs) to order home health care services.
Current Medicare policy prevents these advanced practice registered nurses (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 the majority of skilled care for home health patients. While these health care professionals are authorized to preform face-to-face assessments of a patient’s needs, a physician must certify the assessment.
APRNs provide high-quality, affordable health care 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 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 devices.
The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act would protect patients and improve the efficiency of health care delivery by allowing APRNs to sign the final care plan to order home health care services for their most vulnerable patients.