Labs Stop VA from Allowing APRNs to Perform Lab Tests

The laboratory sector has successfully fought a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rule that would have allowed advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to “perform and supervise” lab testing. Numerous organizations, including the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Service (ASCLS), American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) and American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) raised concerns about the rule’s provision on lab testing, noting that the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) regulations address titles and qualifications regarding who can perform lab tests and what tests they can perform. A May 2016 proposed rule would have granted APRNs’ full practice authority in four roles while serving as employees in the VA health system, which provides medical and hospital services to veterans. The language raising the laboratory sector’s ire stated that a Certified Nurse Practitioner “may order, perform, or supervise laboratory studies.” The VA acknowledged in the Dec. 14, 2016 final rule that commenters objected that such language fails to “‘adequately appreciate the levels of complexity involved in laboratory testing,’ and that there are rigid standards for laboratory tests that require rigorous academic and practical training, which are not part of the training for APRNs.” The VA agreed, responding in the final rule, which was effective Jan. 13, 2017, ”We agree with the commenter in that the proposed language might be construed as allowing CNPs the ability to perform laboratory studies. It is not VA’s intent to have APRNs take over the role of laboratory specialists.” The VA changed the proposed language to instead clarify that a CNP could order lab testing (or imaging) and “integrate the results into clinical decision making.”

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INDUSTRY NEWS TAGS: Other Healthcare News

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