EDITORIAL: Our Veterans Deserve Quicker Access to Health Care

I am disheartened that we continue to see wait times increasing for veterans at VA facilities. I see veterans waiting prolonged periods of time without the health care they need, and there is more we should be doing as a nation to address the problem.

The Veterans’ Health Administration is considering a logical step that would help with the excessive wait times. The VHA is currently considering a proposal that would extend full practice authority to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). These highly educated healthcare professionals presently serve active duty personnel, and it is just common sense that they should be able to treat veterans to the same extent they treat active troops.

If we don’t do something soon, the problem will only get worse. Already, hundreds of thousands of veterans are forced to wait a month or longer just to get an appointment at a veterans’ hospital. Without action, we will see longer wait times for the men and women who deserve much better from our nation.

Allowing full practice authority for APRNs at VA facilities is the right move for veterans. I hope our elected officials and leaders in Washington will rally behind this proposal.