ANA Hails Re-Introduction of Bipartisan Bill to Increase Access to Nurses

 In Nurses Weekly

The Improving Care and Access to Nurses (ICAN) Act was introduced on April 20 in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL), and Rep. Jen Kiggans (R-VA). Endorsed by more than 160 health care organizations in the 117th Congress, the ICAN Act would remove numerous administrative and practice barriers for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), meaning nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives, and clinical nurse specialists will be able to care for their patients at the fullest extent of their abilities.

The following statement is attributable to American Nurses Association (ANA) President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN:

“The ICAN Act will improve care for millions of Americans by removing significant legislative and administrative barriers that have prevented hundreds of thousands of APRNs across the country from maximizing their ability to meet the needs of their patients. This legislation would authorize APRNs to provide a host of procedures including but not limited to cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, patient referrals for medical nutrition, and certification of terminal illness for hospice eligibility. By updating the Medicare and Medicaid programs and enabling APRNs to practice to the top of their education and clinical training, like they did at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the patients and communities being served by these nurses will get improved access to care, from the provider of their choice.

This is especially true for those living in underserved communities who are often faced with a shortage of providers. The ICAN Act removes superfluous regulations that serve as barriers to expanding care in areas where APRNs are often the primary provider. Living in a rural area, I know that APRNs fill an essential, often lifesaving role for people who may have no other access to critically important medical services. But it’s not just rural America that stands to benefit. The ICAN Act means that communities nationwide will get improved access to high-quality care from trusted, highly skilled nurses.

The ICAN Act is a significant step towards creating a more efficient, effective, and equitable health care delivery system. I want to thank Rep. Joyce, Rep. Bonamici, Rep. Underwood, and Rep. Kiggans for introducing this bill and for their commitment to nurses and the nursing profession.”

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