Nursing & Healthcare News

NPs and Workers’ Compensation

H.R.6087 would expand coverage of nurse practitioner care for federal workers

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The House of Representatives has approved a bill that would increase nurse practitioners’ ability to provide primary care for federal workers hurt on the job.

NPs Excluded Under Present Law

Although many federal healthcare programs now allow nurse practitioners to participate as primary care providers, one exception is the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) Program, which pays for treatment and rehabilitation for federal workers who suffer workplace injuries.

The FECA Program is designed to allow beneficiaries to seek care from their own primary care providers. However, under present law, only physicians can certify a work-related injury and prescribe treatment.

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That may be about to change. In June, the House passed H.R.6087, the Improving Access to Workers’ Compensation for Injured Federal Workers Act of 2022, which would amend the law to also allow nurse practitioners (and physician assistants) to certify an injury and oversee treatment.

No Scope-of-Practice Expansion

The bill would not expand NP autonomy beyond what existing state law permits. However, supporters argue that no longer excluding nurse practitioners from the FECA Program would improve access to care, particularly in medically underserved areas, and allow greater continuity of care for federal employees who already turn to NPs for their primary care needs.

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Despite opposition from the American Medical Association, H.R.6087 found strong bipartisan support in the House, where it passed 325–83.

The ANA calls H.R.6087 “an essential first step toward removing yet another federal barrier that prevents NPs from practicing to the extent of their existing state scope of practice.”

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners describes the bill as “a common-sense, no-cost solution to give federal workers timely access to the care they need, when they need it most.” The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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