Nurse practitioners can now practice in VA facilities without physician supervision.
The Department of Veterans Affairs allows nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their training at VA facilities across the country under a new rule made final Jan. 14, 2017. VA officials believe the new rule will make it easier for its patients to be seen quickly by a health care professional since it will increase the number of primary care providers available to examine and treat patients.
At least 5,000 nurse practitioners work in the VA system, according to the Association of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. They can provide many of the primary care services that have traditionally been provided by physicians.
The new federal rule applies only to nurse practitioners working in federal facilities that are part of the VA system. Outside VA facilities, NPs must follow state law regarding their practice authority. For example, in many states, nurse practitioners in non-VA facilities must practice under the supervision of a physician.