Rep. Walden Statement for the Congressional Record: “Recognizing the Important Work of Nurse Practitioners and Supporting Increased Access to Home Health”
March 23, 2016 11:20 AM
On Tuesday, March 22, United States Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR-2) submitted a statement for the Congressional Record expressing recognition for the important work of Nurse Practitioners and support for his legislation, the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (H.R. 1342), which would increase access to home health services by allowing Nurse Practitioners and physician assistants to certify Medicare home health services. Rep. Walden recognized Nancy Cavanaugh, a pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Central Point, Oregon, as one of the many non-physician practitioners across the country who serve millions of patients “as their main source of care, especially in rural areas where a physician isn’t always readily available.”
“By easing administrative burdens and permitting nurse practitioners like Nancy to order and certify home health services, the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act would help deliver needed care to patients, especially in areas where access to health care is limited,” Rep. Walden said. “Oregon’s seniors should be able to receive this important care in a timely fashion, because no one should be forced to choose between receiving health care and remaining in his or her home.”
The statement by Rep. Walden is yet another example of a growing chorus of support for increasing the role of nurses and other health professionals in providing patients with quality health care. During a recent hearing before the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell expressed her support for allowing nurses and other health practitioners to “operate at the top of their license” (see previous NAHC Report article here). And a recent Washington Post article reported on a number of victories that have expanded the roles of nurses in states across the country.
Following is the full statement by Rep. Walden as printed in the Congressional Record:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the many nurse practitioners (NPs) in Oregon and nationwide who work hard to provide quality health care to patients. Today, I’m meeting with Nancy Cavanaugh, a pediatric NP from Central Point, Oregon. Nancy practices at La Clinica’s school-based health centers, including at Crater High School in Central Point. NPs like Nancy are the health provider of choice for millions of Americans seeking primary care, pediatric care, disease education, and other preventative services. Along with clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), certified nurse midwives (CNMs), and physician assistants (PAs), NPs serve many patients as their main source of care, especially in rural areas where a physician isn’t always readily available.
“Despite this important role, these clinicians remain unable to order home health services for the Medicare patients under their care. This impediment results in an administrative and paperwork burden, creating an unnecessary step in care delivery. That is why I introduced H.R. 1342, the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2015, which would ensure that our Medicare beneficiaries get the home health care they need in a timely manner by allowing NPs, CNSs, CNMs and PAs to order home health services, if their state allows it.
“By easing administrative burdens and permitting nurse practitioners like Nancy to order and certify home health services, the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act would help deliver needed care to patients, especially in areas where access to health care is limited. Oregon’s seniors should be able to receive this important care in a timely fashion, because no one should be forced to choose between receiving health care and remaining in his or her home. Please join me in thanking Nancy and her fellow NPs for their hard work on behalf of patients.” (View Rep. Walden’s official statement in the Congressional Record here).
The Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act is one of NAHC’s top priorities. Assist in this effort by attending the March on Washington Conference and meeting in-person with your members of Congress who have not yet cosponsored the bill to request that they do so (see previous NAHC Report article here and here).
Make sure to register for the 2016 March on Washington Conference here. The Conference takes place April 3 – 5 in Washington, D.C.