Ensuring that advanced practice RNs (APRNs) can deliver care to the full extent of their training and licensure is one way to remove barriers that limit patients’ access to high quality cancer care. In support of that goal, U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) reintroduced the Improving Care and Access to Nurses (ICAN) Act in July 2023. U.S. Representatives Dave Joyce (R-OH), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Jennifer Kiggans (R-VA), and Lauren Underwood (D-IL)—all members of the Congressional Nursing Caucus—introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives in April 2023.
The bill defines strategies to break down barriers to APRN practice in federal health programs, increase access and quality of care, and lower costs, consistent with National Academy of Medicine recommendations. For nurse practitioners specifically, the ICAN Act would authorize them to:
- Order and supervise home infusion and cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation under Medicare.
- Certify and recertify eligibility for hospice care programs for Medicare beneficiaries.
- Have Medicare and Medicaid patients admitted to a hospital under their care.
“I know just how valuable and critical care provided by nurses is and the impact they have on their patients,” Merkley said. “Removing these barriers will increase patients’ access to highly trained nurses, reduce costs, and improve care for patients.”
“The federal government should not stand in the way of people in Wyoming getting high quality health care,” Lummis said. “Allowing APRNs to treat more patients will help lower costs and expand healthcare access in underserved rural communities.”
ONS joined more than 50 national nursing organizations to support the legislation. Add your voice as well by getting involved in ONS’s advocacy work or contacting your senators and representatives directly.