A Message from AANP: COVID-19 Updates for NP Organization Leadership27-Mar-2020
We at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) appreciate all you are doing to respond to our nation's emergency while continuing to meet the ongoing needs of your patients. Here are a few timely updates that we want to get into your hands:
1. The AANP Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) webpages are continually being updated with information to help our members during this time. Specifically we'd like to highlight our new page for COVID-19 State Emergency Response: Temporarily Suspended and Waived Practice Agreement Requirements in Reduced and Restricted States, which was posted this week.
2. Earlier this week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar sent a letter and a guidance document to governors with recommendations for states to expand the capacity of their health care workforce to combat COVID-19 during the COVID-19 National Emergency.
Included in these documents are recommendations on temporarily suspending scope of practice requirements, authorizing providers to practice across state lines (and waiving certification fees), expanding telehealth and relicensing/recertifying retired health care professionals to allow them to quickly re-enter the workforce. They also specifically call out the importance of removing restrictions on clinicians, including nurse practitioners (NPs), providing home-based care. AANP has made all of these recommendations directly to the Secretary and the Coronavirus Task Force.
Some of the language is very similar to language that we have used and some of the language differs from what we would recommend as it applies to physician assistants (PAs) more often than it would apply to NPs.
After reviewing the documents, we think it is important that the Secretary has requested that states take action and remove barriers to practice for NPs, and we wanted to share this development with you.
3. We are requesting assistance with terminology. AANP is seeing a fair amount of member and social media traffic about "getting Full Practice Authority(FPA)" or that a waiver "allows FPA" during the COVID-19 pandemic. AANP is concerned that this terminology is misleading and could be problematic. We're being judicious with the use of terminology as we discuss governors' executive orders (EOs). FPA has inclusion and exclusion criteria that must be met. One of the core elements of FPA is that these changes be in state law. The EOs are emergency steps and will be temporary unless legislation is subsequently passed that will enshrine them in law. We are specifically using the terms "waived" and "suspended" when referencing changes in EOs. Please consider using similar terms when discussing these temporary EOs in your states.
AANP is having ongoing dialog with several states and partners around waivers and will update the webpages as we obtain new information. We are updating information as fast as we can; if you have any specific information on EOs in your state, please send them to AANP. You can share information with Julia Dieperink, State Policy Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for all your work, and if there is anything else that AANP can do to assist at this time, please let us know via our website.
VP State Government Affairs
American Association of Nurse Practitioners