This Week in Washington, D.C.
The Senate is in session today, and Members of the House of Representatives return on Tuesday. Both chambers will continue to work through their legislative agendas this week.
Hearings in the House this week include: the Committee on Oversight and Reform — Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, titled “An Epidemic Continues: Youth Vaping in America,” and the Committee on Energy and Commerce — Subcommittee on Health, titled “Empowered by Data: Legislation to Advance Equity and Public Health.” Two subcommittees of the Committee on Appropriations — the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies and the Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies — will each hold a markup, titled “Fiscal 2022 Subcommittee Markup.”
Hearings in the Senate this week include: the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, titled “Vaccines: America’s Shot at Ending the COVID-Pandemic;” the Committee on Appropriations — Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, titled “A Review of the FY 2022 Budget and FY 2023 Advance Appropriations Requests for the Department of Veterans Affairs;” and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, titled “Hearing on Pending Legislation.”
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Funding Available for Rural Health Clinics (RHCs)
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through HRSA, is supporting Medicare-certified RHC efforts on COVID-19 vaccinations, mitigation and testing through three separate programs. The links below contain information regarding each of the programs, including resources for RHCs to access the programs and contacts for technical assistance and HRSA representatives.
  • Rural Health Clinic Vaccine Confidence (RHCVC) Program
    HRSA is currently accepting grant applications for the RHCVC Program to improve vaccine confidence and to counter vaccine hesitancy in rural communities where COVID-19 vaccine uptake lags in comparison to more populated areas. Grant applications are due by June 23, 2021, and HRSA intends to provide funding to all grant applicants.
  • Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution (RHCVD) Program
    The RHCVD will distribute COVID-19 vaccines directly to RHCs to increase the availability of COVID-19 vaccines in rural communities.
  • Rural Health Clinic COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation Program
    On June 11, HRSA provided $424.7 million to more than 4,200 RHCs to increase COVID-19 testing and mitigation in rural areas as part of the RHC COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation Program. Each immediately eligible RHC received $100,000 in funding. Payments were issued via the Provider Relief Fund (PRF) mechanism as one-time payments to organizations based on the number of certified RHC sites they operate. RHCs do not need to apply for these funds. HRSA will issue up to $35.3 million in additional funding to eligible RHCs later this summer.

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Announces June 23 Meeting
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ACIP has announced that the previously scheduled June 18, 2021, meeting has been re-scheduled. Those agenda items will now be included in the June 23, 2021, meeting. The meeting agenda includes an update on COVID-19 vaccine safety and a discussion on additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Information on attending, as well as meeting materials, are available on the CDC ACIP Meetings Information webpage.

CDC Publishes Interim Guidance on Evaluating and Caring for Patients With Post-COVID-19 Conditions
On June 14, 2021, the CDC published interim guidance on evaluating and caring for patients with post-COVID-19 conditions. This includes new information to assist health care professionals with evaluating, managing and caring for patients who may experience long-term effects after a COVID-19 infection. Further information is available on the CDC webpage.

HHS Announces Health Care Marketplace Special Enrollment Period (SEP) Extended 
HHS announced that the SEP for the Health Care Marketplace will be extended until August 15, 2021. Highlighted in previous Government Affairs Updates, the SEP for the Health Care Marketplace will allow individuals and families in states with Marketplaces served by to enroll in 2021 health insurance coverage. Further information is available on the HHS announcement page and in the SEP toolkit.

Last Chance to Register! Free Webinar — Exploring the Present: AANP's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts and Advancing Health Equity in the Era of the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 Report
Join the AANP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee for a special three-part webinar series covering AANP's past, present and future commitments to diversity! Register now for the second webinar of the series on June 22, where DEI Committee members will discuss the recently released report on the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 from the National Academies of Medicine. This opportunity is available to AANP members only, so log in to your AANP account to register for free.

Delaware Full Practice Authority Bill Hearing on Senate Floor Tuesday
House Bill 141, a bill to eliminate collaborative agreement requirements, retire the requirement that the Board of Medicine approve disciplinary action for some nurse practitioners (NPs) and align state law with national terminology, is on the agenda for a final hearing and vote this week on Tuesday, June 22, during the Senate session beginning at 2 p.m. on the Delaware Senate floor. Delaware AANP members have been speaking out on the need for these changes and can watch their emails for updates as the bill continues to advance.

Texas Authorizes NPs to Sign Death Certificates
House Bill 4048 was signed into law by Governor Abbott on June 15. This act authorizes an NP to complete death certificates for patients outside of hospice and palliative care settings. Texas AANP members can watch their emails for an end-of-session update.

Wisconsin Introduces Bills to Modernize Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Law
Senate Bill 394 and Assembly Bill 396 seek to modernize Wisconsin’s nursing statutes, bringing them closer in line with the Consensus Model. As introduced, these companion bills would create a licensure process for APRNs and retire the requirement for an APRN to work in a documented relationship with a physician in order to prescribe. The bills have been referred to the Committee on Health in their respective chambers.

NP Legislation: Advocating to Remove Federal Barriers
Please keep up your advocacy efforts by visiting the AANP Advocacy Center and sending letters to your Members of Congress. Your voice makes a difference.

The Increasing Access to Quality Cardiac Rehabilitation Care Act of 2021, H.R. 1956/S. 1986, was was introduced by Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Peter Welch (D-VT) in the House and Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in the Senate. Previously passed as part of the Bipartisan Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 2018 (Public Law 115–123), was the authorization for NPs and PAs to supervise cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, starting in 2024. This legislation will change the BBA’s effective date for supervision of these services from 2024 to 2022 and will also authorize NPs and PAs to order cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation starting in 2022. Therefore, this legislation would retire this barrier to practice by allowing NPs to order and supervise cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation starting in 2022. Please urge your elected officials to support this legislation.

The Promoting Access to Diabetic Shoes Act of 2021, S.800, was introduced in the Senate by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME). This legislation would authorize NPs and PAs to certify a Medicare beneficiary’s need for therapeutic shoes, thus improving the timeliness and access to care while reducing costs. Please urge your Senators to support this legislation.