Letter from ANNA and other nursing organizations to the Senate Committee on Finance urging the inclusion of the Medicaid Advanced Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants Access Act (S. 1515) in Medicaid reconciliation legislation currently in develop...

August 22, 2005

The Honorable Charles Grassley

Chairman, Committee on Finance

United States Senate

Washington, DC  20510

Dear Chairman Grassley:

The organizations listed below urge you to increase access to services provided by advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and physician assistants (PAs) in your Medicaid reform efforts. We strongly support the inclusion of the Medicaid Advanced Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants Access Act (S. 1515) in the Medicaid reconciliation legislation that you are developing. This legislation will increase access to essential health care services while helping to control Medicaid spending.

Current law requires fee-for-service Medicaid to cover health care services provided by some APRNs. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA, P.L. 105-33) encouraged states to move Medicaid recipients into managed care and to use primary care case managers as gatekeepers in fee-for-service. However, it failed to fully recognize APRNs as participants in these plans. H.R. 2716 would alter Medicaid law in the following three respects:

  • Fee-for-service Medicaid would be expanded to include direct payment for services provided by all nurse practitioners (NPs) and clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), and reimbursement for services provided by physician assistants (PAs). Current federal law provides for the direct fee-for-service reimbursement of family NPs, pediatric NPs, and certified nurse midwives (CNMs).
  • All NPs, CNMs, and PAs would be recognized as primary care case managers.
  • Medicaid managed care panels would be required to include NPs, CNSs, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), CNMs, and PAs.

Taken together, these changes will greatly increase access to care for Medicaid patients. Many studies have shown that APRNs and PAs provide cost-effective, high quality care. In addition, they are often willing to provide services in rural and inner-city areas where access to physicians is limited. By including the Medicaid Advanced Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants Access Act in Medicaid reconciliation, you will ensure that Medicaid patients receive care in a timely and cost-efficient manner. We look forward to working with you on this important matter.

Sincerely,

American Academy of Physician Assistants

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

American College of Nurse-Midwives

American College of Nurse Practitioners

American Nephrology Nurses' Association

American Nurses Association

Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses

Emergency Nurses Association

National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

National Nursing Centers Consortium

Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association

Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates

Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nurses Society