Specialized nurses at Veterans Administration get more autonomy | KUOW News and Information

Specialized nurses at Veterans Administration get more autonomy

Dec 14, 2016

The VA is giving more some nurse practitioners more autonomy to treat patients, but not all of them will be free from physician oversight.

The new rule published Wednesday is a victory for most advanced practice registered nurses such as nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists.

The new rules will allow them to work without physician supervision across the VA system.  The department says the change will standardize rules across the country. It will also give patients more access to health care.

But the VA decided not include certified nurse anesthetists in the change, citing that there was no shortage in the specialty. The proposal set off a debate among anesthetists. CRNA's said they too should be able to work independently; physicians groups argued it would be too dangerous. 

In the end the VA received more than 200,000 comments on the proposal.

The department didn’t rule out granting full practice authority to nurse anesthetists in the future, but for now they’ll continue to work as a team with a physician anesthesiologist.