38 CFR § 17.415 - Full practice authority for advanced practice registered nurses.

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§ 17.415 Full practice authority for advanced practice registered nurses.

(a)Advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). For purposes of this section, an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) is an individual who:

(1) Has completed a nationally-accredited, graduate-level educational program that prepares them for one of the three APRN roles of Certified Nurse Practitioner (CNP), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), or Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM);

(2) Has passed a national certification examination that measures knowledge in one of the APRN roles described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section;

(3) Has obtained a license from a State licensing board in one of three recognized APRN roles described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section; and

(4) Maintains certification and licensure as required by paragraphs (a)(2) and (3) of this section.

(b)Full practice authority. For purposes of this section, full practice authority means the authority of an APRN to provide services described in paragraph (d) of this section without the clinical oversight of a physician, regardless of State or local law restrictions, when that APRN is working within the scope of their VA employment.

(c)Granting of full practice authority. VA may grant full practice authority to an APRN subject to the following:

(1) Verification that the APRN meets the requirements established in paragraph (a) of this section; and

(2) Determination that the APRN has demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to provide the services described in paragraph (d) of this section without the clinical oversight of a physician, and is thus qualified to be privileged for such scope of practice.

(d)Services provided by an APRN with full practice authority.

(1) Subject to the limitations established in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, the full practice authority for each of the three APRN roles includes, but is not limited to, providing the following services:

(i) A CNP has full practice authority to:

(A) Take comprehensive histories, provide physical examinations and other health assessment and screening activities, diagnose, treat, and manage patients with acute and chronic illnesses and diseases;

(B) Order laboratory and imaging studies and integrate the results into clinical decision making;

(C) Prescribe medication and durable medical equipment;

(D) Make appropriate referrals for patients and families, and request consultations;

(E) Aid in health promotion, disease prevention, health education, and counseling as well as the diagnosis and management of acute and chronic diseases.

(ii) A CNS has full practice authority to provide diagnosis and treatment of health or illness states, disease management, health promotion, and prevention of illness and risk behaviors among individuals, families, groups, and communities within their scope of practice.

(iii) A CNM has full practice authority to provide a range of primary health care services to women, including gynecologic care, family planning services, preconception care (care that women veterans receive before becoming pregnant, including reducing the risk of birth defects and other problems such as the treatment of diabetes and high blood pressure), prenatal and postpartum care, childbirth, and care of a newborn, and treating the partner of their female patients for sexually transmitted disease and reproductive health, if the partner is also enrolled in the VA healthcare system or is not required to enroll.

(2) The full practice authority of an APRN is subject to the limitations imposed by the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. 801et seq., and that APRN's State licensure on the authority to prescribe, or administer controlled substances, as well as any other limitations on the provision of VA care set forth in applicable Federal law and policy.

(e)Preemption of State and local law. To achieve important Federal interests, including but not limited to the ability to provide the same comprehensive care to veterans in all States under 38 U.S.C. 7301, this section preempts conflicting State and local laws relating to the practice of APRNs when such APRNs are working within the scope of their VA employment. Any State or local law, or regulation pursuant to such law, is without any force or effect on, and State or local governments have no legal authority to enforce them in relation to, activities performed under this section or decisions made by VA under this section.

[81 FR 90206, Dec. 14, 2016]