The “Improving Access to Workers’ Compensation for Injured Federal Workers Act of 2023” (S. 131) is a significant legislative proposal that aims to reshape the healthcare landscape for injured federal workers. This bill, which was introduced in the year 2023, seeks to expand the roles of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) within the federal workers’ compensation program. By allowing NPs and PAs to take on a broader set of responsibilities in the treatment and management of injured federal workers, the bill aims to improve access to care, streamline the process, and maximize the utilization of healthcare professionals.
One of the key provisions of the bill is the expansion of the scope of practice for NPs and PAs. Under the federal workers’ compensation program, NPs and PAs, acting within the scope of their practice, would gain the authority to perform several critical functions that were previously limited to physicians. These functions include:
To understand the significance of this bill, it’s essential to delve into the background of the federal workers’ compensation program. This program provides essential benefits to federal employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Historically, the program primarily relied on physicians to perform various tasks related to the assessment, treatment, and certification of injured workers. However, as the healthcare landscape has evolved, there has been a growing recognition of the valuable contributions that NPs and PAs can make to the delivery of high-quality healthcare.
The demand for expanding the roles of NPs and PAs in healthcare delivery has been steadily growing over the years. NPs and PAs undergo rigorous education and training that equips them with the skills and knowledge necessary to provide a wide range of healthcare services. Their ability to work independently, diagnose and treat medical conditions, and engage in collaborative care with physicians makes them valuable assets to the healthcare system. Recognizing this potential, many states have already expanded the scope of practice for NPs and PAs in various healthcare settings.
The positions of key stakeholders in this bill can be diverse and influenced by a range of factors. Understanding these positions is essential for grasping the dynamics surrounding the bill.
Key Supporters: Supporters of this bill are likely to include nursing organizations, NP and PA advocacy groups, and those who advocate for the expansion of the healthcare workforce. Their support is grounded in several compelling reasons: