The Department of Veterans Affairs today released an interim final rule clarifying that VA nurses and other health care professionals can deliver health care services in a state other than their state of licensure, registration, certification or other requirement.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted VA’s acute need to exercise its statutory authority of allowing VA health care professionals to practice across State lines,” the rule states. “…This rulemaking will support VA’s authority to do so and will provide an increased level of protection against any adverse State action being proposed or taken against VA health care professionals who practice within the scope of their VA employment.”

The rule also confirms that the agency plans to establish national standards of practice for VA health care professionals. “The need for national standards of practice have been highlighted by VA’s large scale initiative regarding the new electronic health record,” the rule notes. “…For this endeavor, [the Department of Defense] and VA established a joint governance over the EHR system. In order to be successful, VA must standardize clinical processes with DoD. This means that all health care professionals in DoD and VA who practice in a certain health care profession must be able to carry out the same duties and tasks irrespective of State requirements.”

The rule will take effect upon publication in the Nov. 12 Federal Register, with comments accepted for 60 days. The AHA’s American Organization for Nursing Leadership has long supported nurses working to the top of their education and licensure.

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