Washington, DC — The National League for Nursing applauds actions taken last night by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to respond to shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic by waiving federal rules that limit the ability of nurses and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) from providing the full range of services they are educated and licensed to provide.
The agency announced a range of policies temporarily relaxing regulations to help hospitals and health care system increase their workforce to meet the demand for care during this national emergency, including removing barriers for nurses and other clinicians to be more readily hired from the local community and those licensed from other states without violating Medicare rules, enabling them to provide the services they are qualified and licensed for while federal paperwork requirements are completed.
The CMS will also issue waivers so that hospitals can use nurse practitioners and other advanced practice providers to the fullest extent possible within a state’s emergency preparedness or pandemic plan, including ordering tests and medications that may previously have required a physician’s order where this is permitted under state law. The agency is also waiving the requirements that a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) be under the supervision of a physician, freeing physicians from supervisory demands and expanding the capacity of both CRNAs and physicians.
The League urges state officials and healthcare system leaders to take advantage of these policies to quickly expand the range of services their nursing workforce can provide. By lowering these regulatory burdens and barriers during the current crisis, the League reasonably expects that the improved access to high-quality patient care will lead to the permanent removal of regulatory practice barriers.
Read the CMS fact sheet and COVID-19 waivers and guidance.