SILVER SPRING, MD – The American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA), the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP), the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the American Nurses Association (ANA) are joining together to strongly support the Improving Care and Access to Nurses (ICAN) Act. We applaud the introduction of this legislation by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH), which marks an important step in further recognizing the vital role advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) have in our nation’s health care system.
This critically important legislation will improve access to health care for millions of patients. The ICAN Act will remove administrative, practice and other barriers currently faced by APRNs and their patients. This legislation is consistent with the recommendations from numerous health care stakeholders, including the National Academy of Medicine in their The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity report. This report recommends that “all relevant state, federal and private organizations enable nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and training by removing practice barriers that prevent them from more fully addressing social needs and social determinants of health and improve health care access, quality, and value.”
Today, more than 200,000 APRNs are treating Medicare patients, and approximately 40% of Medicare beneficiaries are receiving care from APRNs. It is essential Congress removes barriers to care for the hundreds of thousands of APRNs and their millions of patients in order to maximize the ability of our health care workforce to meet the needs of patients and communities. The ICAN Act will improve access to health care by updating the Medicare and Medicaid programs, enabling APRNs to practice to the top of their education and clinical training.
“It is time for Congress to eliminate burdensome laws and regulations,” said AANA President Angela Mund, DNP, CRNA. “Allowing certified registered nurse anesthetists and other APRNs to practice to the full scope of their training and licensure will ensure that patients are put first, that competition drives down costs through the removal of artificial and unnecessary barriers, and that providers of all types are able to better serve their patients.”
“The ICAN Act will improve our health care system, retire barriers to practice, and enable patients to receive timely access to health care from their chosen health care provider,” said AANP President April Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN. “NPs practice in nearly every health care setting and provide care to patients across the life span. The millions of patients who choose NPs as their health care providers should have equitable access to the health care they deserve. The changes made by this legislation are vitally important to patients and providers alike.”
“It is critical that laws and regulations facilitate the most efficient relationships between health care professionals and create systems in which midwives and other APRNs can communicate openly, practice collaboratively, and provide quality care that falls within everyone’s professional scope of practice,” stated ACNM CEO Katrina Holland. “Decades of research demonstrates that midwifery care can improve maternal health outcomes, the ICAN Act ensures that certified nurse-midwives can bring their evidenced-based skillset and knowledge to fully meet the needs of their patients.”
“Nurses play a critical role in our health care delivery system, often by serving as the primary source of care in many communities. This is especially true of APRNs who were able to practice at the top of their license during the height of the pandemic, due to waivers granted by Federal and state governments, and in doing so provided access to high-quality care for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients alike,” said ANA President Dr. Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Modern health care requires flexibility. We cannot not be hindered by antiquated barriers to practice or petty turf wars over perceived hierarchies. The health of our patients and communities must come first. The ICAN Act means that APRNs, including nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives, and clinical nurse specialists will be able to care for their patients at the fullest extent of their abilities while experiencing fewer disruptions and less interference.”
About the American Nurses Association
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4.2 million registered nurses. ANA advances the profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit www.nursingworld.org.