FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2015
Adam Sachs, 301-628-5034
Jemarion Jones, 301-628-5198
ANA Applauds Introduction of Legislation Recognizing APRNs’ Ability
To Sign Home Health Care Plans for Medicare Patients
SILVER SPRING, MD – The American Nurses Association (ANA) is asking lawmakers to support the Home Health Care Planning and Improvement Act (H.R.1342). The bill, introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Ron Kind (D-WI), allows advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to sign home health care plans and certify Medicare patients for the home health care benefit. A companion bill, S. 578, was introduced in the Senate last week by Senators Collins (R-ME) and Schumer (D-NY).
This legislation amends a quirk in the Medicare law which has kept APRNs, a group that includes nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse midwives, from signing home health care plans and from certifying Medicare patients for the home health care benefit.
“This legislation will improve access to care,” said ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “This proposal eliminates unnecessary and costly delays some patients currently experience in receiving home health care services. ANA commends this bipartisan effort to address patients’ needs and optimize the contributions of all health care professionals, including the nation’s APRNs.”
APRNs are playing an increasing role in American health care delivery. Passage of the Home Health Care Planning and Improvement Act will reduce Medicare spending. Medicare has recognized the independent practice of APRNs for nearly two decades, and these health care professionals now provide the majority of skilled care to home health patients. These delays in access to home health care services inconvenience patients and their families and can result in increased costs when patients are unnecessarily left in more expensive institutional settings.
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ANA is the only full-service professional organization representing the interests of the nation's 3.1 million registered nurses through its constituent and state nurses associations and its organizational affiliates. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the rights of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Congress and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.