The American Nurses Association (ANA) supports the federal Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2011 (S.227), which has recently received an additional sponsor to the bill. The bill enables advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), certified nurse midwives (CNMs) and physician assistants (PAs) to order home healthcare services through the Medicare system. Currently, federal law prohibits these professionals from ordering services. The ANA notes that this prohibition causes delays and consequent additional expenses within the Medicare system. This also causes delays in moving patients from expensive institutional settings to less expensive, often preferable, home health care settings.
The bill is sponsored by Senator Susan Collins [R-ME] and is co-sponsored by Daniel Akaka [D-HI], Kent Conrad [D-ND], Daniel Inouye [D-HI], Tim Johnson [D-SD], Jeff Merkley [D-OR], John Reed [D-RI], and Ron Wyden [D-OR]. According to the US federal government, this bill revises limitations for “home health care services. Allows payment for home health services to Medicare beneficiaries by: (1) a nurse practitioner, (2) a clinical nurse specialist working in collaboration with a physician in accordance with state law, (3) a certified nurse-midwife, or (4) a physician assistant under a physician's supervision.” The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.