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Check Out The Legislative Roundtable Priorities On The Website!

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Thursday, April 16, 2020


                           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!

Tags:  DVA  Roundtable  VHA 

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Heard on the Hill

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Teresa Morris, Director, Advocacy & Government Relations

Greetings NOVA Members –

Wow, it was a busy February and March – the Legislative Committee finalized its 2020 Legislative Priority Goals and NOVA held its Hill Day and Roundtable events in Washington, D.C. Thanks to the over 30 Members who showed up and joined us to speak to Congress about VA healthcare and local issues critical to VA’s Mission. Stories from the day will be presented in the coming weeks. Needless to say, Congress heard loud and clear from our VA Nurses!

Our 2020 Priorities focus on ensuring an adequate budget, monitoring access and the Community Care Network and most importantly, Staffing, Recruitment and Retention, with emphasis on lowering vacancies by recruiting and retaining a highly qualified workforce. For the entire list of goals, visit the NOVA website and click on the Advocacy Tab.

We also held our Annual Legislative Roundtable at DAV Headquarters in DC. The Roundtable is a great event that brings together stakeholders from the VSO community, Professional Nursing Organizations, Hill Staff, Union Representatives, and leadership from the VA Office of Nursing Service. 

Discussions centered around VA healthcare and services, staffing, modernization/reorganization within VHA, APRN status update, and the recently published report, “The Future of Nursing 2020-2030,” which can be found here:

For pictures from Hill Day and the Legislative Roundtable – check out our website today!

Congress continues to hold hearings and introduce legislation designed to improve VA programs and services. NOVA makes a point of monitoring anything that affects our members and how they provide care to Veterans.  The FY 2021 Budget and FY 2022 Advance Appropriations was introduced in February and is now in the hands of Appropriation Committees. NOVA supports the Independent Budget funding request for both cycles. The IB VSO’s – DAV, PVA and VFW have worked to develop and present concrete recommendations to ensure that VA remains fully-funded and capable of carrying out its mission to take care of current and future population of Veterans. I urge all of you to take a look at the information provided, Congress has for years acknowledged the importance of the VSO analytics and accuracy of its numbers.

The link to the document can be found here,

I encourage all of you to stay current on our advocacy efforts by visiting the NOVA Website and watching our Social Media accounts – information on hearings and issues moving quickly through Congress are always provided as they happen! 

As we move towards the end of the 116th Congress and the 2020 elections, I ask all of you to continue to voice your views as to how, when and where Veterans receive care as VA moves through new models of healthcare delivery. All of you remain at the forefront and can provide invaluable information on how VA continues to carry out their core mission of taking care of our Nation’s Heroes.  

Stay Tuned!

Tags:  Congress  DAV  Legislative Roundtable  NOVA  NOVA on the Hill  Priorities  PVA  Recruitment  Retention  Staffing  VFW  VHA 

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2020 Legislative Priority Goals

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Thursday, February 13, 2020


The Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs (NOVA) is the professional organization for nurses employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Our members are the frontline faces who provide the best care for Veterans. The following legislative priority goals identify several areas we feel need attention to continue providing the best care for our Nation’s Veterans.



  • Ensure an adequate budget that provides critical funding so that all VISNs and Medical Facilities can provide care and services to its population.
  • Optimize all VA resources to affect and achieve value in models of care.
  • Support appropriate funding of Community Care Accounts. 

Access /Community Care Network:

  • Maximize Veteran access to care through effective use of technology, efficient clinical practice and role enhancement for all nursing personnel.
  • Monitor implementation of VA Mission/Community Care Network.
  • Require that training, competency and quality standards for Community Care Network providers are equal to those of VHA providers.
  • Implement a care coordination system allowing Veterans to return with ease back to the VA when resources are available.
  •  Ensure staffing levels that affect community care referrals and coordination are met.
  • Continue providing ongoing training for VHA personnel and all community providers to improve the coordination of care, understanding of military culture and health care needs across networks.

Staffing/Recruitment and Retention:

  • Recruit and retain a highly qualified nursing workforce with a budget to support modern staffing models.
  • Offer opportunity for career advancement/growth for all levels of nursing within the VA to retain a highly qualified nursing workforce.
  • Ensure HR has essential staff in order to review and streamline policies and procedures to improve the efficiency and speed of the hiring process.
  •  Mandate training for HR personnel on use of Locality Pay, and congressional authorizations to improve entire hiring process.
  • Monitor HR Centralization at the VISN level.
  • Increase Salary Caps and support competitive wages for ALL levels of Nursing.

Tags:  CCN  Community Care  Electronic Health Record  Recruitment  VA MISSION  VA Modernization  VHA 

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