AACN's Washington Weekly

Published November 06, 2019


AACN Board Member Highlights the Importance of Title VIII at Congressional Briefing

On October 30, the Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition (HPNEC), of which AACN is a member, held a congressional briefing titled, “HRSA Workforce Development: Innovating our Health Care Pipeline, Training, Delivery Systems.” As one of three panelists, Dr. Lepaine Sharp-McHenry, Dean of the College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences at Simmons University, highlighted the importance of Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs and outlined how they innovatively serve our communities, especially rural and underserved areas.

Dr. Sharp-McHenry specifically emphasized the impact of the Nursing Workforce Diversity grants and Faculty Loan Repayment programs, which are vital to preparing the future nursing workforce. Congressional staff in attendance heard Dr. Sharp-McHenry explain that, “Title VIII programs go hand-in-hand and work together to advance nursing education.” This conversation was timely as the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee was set to mark-up Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization the following day.
HPNEC is an alliance of nearly 70 organizations representing a wide variety of schools, programs, health professionals, and students that are dedicated to educating the healthcare workforce.

Title VIII Reauthorization Advances out of Senate HELP Committee

On October 31, the Senate HELP Committee advanced S. 1399, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 by a unanimous voice vote. While there is still work to do before this bill becomes a law, this was a major step forward and one we could not have achieved without the hard work and strong advocacy efforts from AACN members! To keep the momentum going, click here to email your Senators and urge them cosponsor and pass Title VIII Reauthorization today.

AACN Applauds CMS Final Rules, Relieving Burden for APRNs

On November 1, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released two final rules for Calendar Year 2020, the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment Systems. This Administration is focusing on updating payment policies in the healthcare system, which impacts health practitioners including advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). AACN is pleased to see several of its recommendations to CMS included in the final rules.

Physician Fee Schedule (PFS): The most significant change was the revision to Evaluation and Management (E/M) documentation requirements to allow the physicians, PAs, and APRNs who bill under the PFS to review and verify, rather than redocument, medical record notes made by physicians, residents, nurses, students, or other members of the healthcare team. The change is reflective of the professional healthcare setting by including APRN and PA preceptors and broadly interpreting “students” to include all members of the team with interprofessional education and training. The inclusion of this provision is a huge win and was widely supported by AACN and its coalition partners.  

Hospital OPPS/ASC: AACN strongly supported the proposed changes to supervision of outpatient therapeutic services in hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). Included in the final rule, this provision changes the minimum level of supervision from direct supervision to general supervision for all hospital outpatient therapeutic services provided by hospitals and CAHs. This would increase access to lifesaving therapeutic services, including cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, especially for the medically underserved patient populations.

AACN will continue to support CMS initiatives to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens while increasing access to affordable and high-quality care by eliminating regulations impeding scope of practice of highly qualified clinicians.

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