NOVA’s 26th Legislative Roundtable
Ernestine Goode, MSA, BSN, RN, CRRN, CBIS
Central Virginia VA Health Care System
NOVA Chapter 420
NOVA’s 26th Legislative Roundtable took place at the DAV Headquarters in Washington, DC on March 6, 2020. Participants were welcomed by the Disabled American Veterans’ Assistant National Legislative Director, Marquis Barefield, and NOVA President Kelly Skinner, DNP, APRN, NP-C, GNP-BC, CRRN, WCC, CFCN.
NOVA: NOVA’s Legislative Co-chairpersons, Michelle Salazar and Cecilia McVey, reviewed the 2020 Legislative Priority Goals:
Budget – Ensure an adequate budget that provides critical funding so that all VISNs and Medical Facilities can provide care and services to its population.
Access/Community Care Network – Maximize Veteran access to care through effective use of technology, efficient clinical practice and role enhancement for all nursing personnel.
Staff/Recruitment and Retention – Recruit and retain a highly qualified nursing workforce with a budget to support modern staffing models.
Office of Nursing Services Update: Beth Taylor, CNO, shared:
VA Nursing Workforce: There are currently 106,000 nurses in the VHA Healthcare System with 22% that are eligible for retirement and the average age is 48.2, 10-11% are less than 30 years of age. VA is the largest attractor for new graduates.
Full Practice Authority for APRNs –Full Practice Authority was approved for APRNs in October 2019. All except one VA has granted full practice authority and/or in the process of implementation. This is fully supported by Dr. Stone and his team.
Modernization of the VA – Chief Nursing Officer reports to the Undersecretary of Health with operational responsibilities for Geriatrics and Extended Care, Pharmacy, and Sterile Processing Center. The leadership for these clinical programs will have additional responsibilities.
Association of VA Nurse Anesthetists (AVANA): Outcomes data, salary caps, and military transfer out to VA has been very challenging due to practice and salary, parental leave for Title 38, underused nurse anesthetists for opioid crisis.
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) – The hearing on March 6, 2020 on HR 11-33 and S4-62- Collective Bargaining Rights, equal voice in the VA. The Accountability Act – S221 – Report to Licensing Board & Data Bank HR353 – includes reporting requirements.
Director of Government Affairs – S221 & HR 3530 – looking for common ground, ongoing credentialing review.
Government Relations of America – Focused on Suicide Prevention and Access to Mental Health Care, legislative adjustments where necessary concern about turn over, continuity of leadership from VA centers to VACO, constant reform, full practice for nurse anesthetists from DOD to VA, Title 8 funding (not kept pace with inflation) COVID-19, executive order to practice at top of licensure, access to care, and minimize use of opioids.
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)- Surveys all SCI centers; SCI System of Care (17, 000) receive care- 2019 shortage of 6000 SCI nurses due to Human Resources (HR) delays, lack of custodial assistance, physicians in VA understand the SCI systems of care better compared to the private sector.
American Nurses Association (ANA) - COVID-19 concerns about shortage of N95 masks, considering the N96 masks, 24- hour topic of discussion, plan to agree to eliminate mandatory OT for nurses, workplace violence against nurses, and remove data waiver for APRNs.
American Psychological Association (APA) - Suicide Prevention, develop Comprehensive Legislative Model – Access HR 5697, any Veteran regardless of enrollment, discharge status will receive care for acute crisis and will not be billed.
The attendees at NOVA’s Legislative Roundtable included; representatives from the House Committee of Veterans Affairs, VA Office of Nursing Service, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), Veterans Service Organizations: American Legion, DAV, Iraq & Afghan Veterans of America, Military Offices Association of America (MOAA), PVA, Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses, American Academy of Nursing, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, NOVA Legislative Committee, NOVA Nurse Emeritus, NOVA Board of Directors, and NOVA Staff.
Check out the Roundtable Attendees’ Priorities that are available on the NOVA website!