2023 Summer GAPNA Newsletter Volume 42 Number 2

AANP Health Policy Report

By Lois M. Chappell

On January 29th to 31th, 2023, nurse practitioners gathered to learn from AANP, legislative leaders, and each other to engage in health policy at the 2023 AANP Health Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.

This was an exciting time to be on the capitol with fellow nurse practitioners and AANP leaders. This was my first time in D.C. following the height of the Covid pandemic, and it was invigorating to feel and see the energy on the hill!

Throughout this year’s conference, attendees heard from healthcare, policy, and legislative experts on how the health of our nation and health policy barriers would challenge the 118th Congress.

The focus was on how we can engage congressional leaders to change the direction of healthcare for our patients and our profession. A primary focus was improving access to health care by removing barriers for nurse practitioners (NPs) and their patients, improving overall health outcomes.

The focus was federal bills; however, we worked within our state groups to forge alliances and share stories to strengthen our home-state advocacy.

Federal priorities for healthcare legislation include comprehensive language on legislation to allow NPs to practice to the full extent of their education and training. Removing these barriers would allow NPs to order cardiac and pulmonary rehab, certify diabetic patients for diabetic shoes, refer for nutrition services, order home infusion, certify hospice care, perform all skilled nursing home patient assessments, be attending of record on hospitalized patients, direct outpatient clinical services for patients, and have full inclusion in the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

It is essential to understand that NPs provide substantial-high-quality and cost-effective care to Medicare and Medicaid patients. Without these services, patients may experience a lack of access or delay. More than 80% of full-time NPs in the United States see Medicare and/or Medicaid patients.

In addition to comprehensive language on legislation to include APRNs, we face challenges to engage in conversations with our legislators to increase and stabilize funding for nurse education programs, maintain patient access to telehealth, and provide federal employees healthcare when workplace injuries occur. By day three of the conference, we were ready for congressional meetings and hit the capital with our state conference attendees.

Meeting face-to-face with representatives and their staff allowed conference attendees to discuss the federal bills important to our patients and share our stories from the field, including reports of delay in care, difficulty finding providers, and the potential costs of delayed or missed healthcare visits.

We connected with congressional leaders and were charged with following up in our home states to follow up and offer our assistance as healthcare leaders. We were sharing with policymakers the impact a nurse practitioner’s care can have on improving health outcomes and advocating for our patients.

My personal post-conference goals include ongoing communication with my legislators, continued work with the NPs in my state, and working with GAPNA to achieve policy goals.

I want to thank GAPNA Health Affairs Committee for the scholarship that allowed me to improve my knowledge of health policy and learn from field experts at the 2023 AANP Health Policy Conference.

Lois M. Chappell, DNP, CRNP, FNP-C