Note from Your VCNP President
Earlier this week, Governor Northam addressed the Commonwealth about Virginia’s rising coronavirus case numbers. While there currently aren’t any planned changes to roll back to phase 2 in any area of the Commonwealth, the Governor said some of the numbers, especially in Hampton Roads, are increasing. Enforcement of various guidelines will be stepping up across the state with a focus in Hampton Roads. The Governor reminded Virginians to wear masks, avoid large gatherings and continue social distancing efforts.

Important VDH updates
Dr. Norman Oliver, state health commissioner, recently sent a letter sharing information about COVID-19 reporting and testing and routine immunizations. VDH COVID-19 Update Letter
Highlights of the letter include:
·       Clinicians should report all suspected COVID-19 cases to the VDH Online Morbidity Reporting Portal. Rapid reporting allows VDH to immediately initiate a case investigation and conduct contact tracing, with the ultimate goal of containing the spread of COVID-19.

·       On June 4, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released new laboratory data reporting guidance for COVID-19 testing. In addition to test results, certain demographic data (e.g., race, ethnicity, age, and sex) are now required and reports should be transmitted to VDH electronically. This reporting should start no later than August 1. Providers are strongly encouraged to report complete demographic information when ordering testing.

·       VDH released updated recommendations for prioritizing testing.

·       VDH launched a new webpage for healthcare providers that includes a one-page testing algorithm and information on the types of COVID-19 tests, how to test patients safely, and tips for interpreting test results.

·       VDH has pre-ordered additional influenza vaccines to ensure access for underserved populations through local health departments, community health centers and free clinics.
Help keep nurse preceptor funding in state budget
To help address the shortage of advanced practice nurses , the Virginia General Assembly adopted budget amendments during the 2020 legislative session to create a nursing preceptor incentive program. Unfortunately funding for this initiative was one of the many items that was frozen in this year’s budget because of COVID-19.

To improve access to healthcare by increasing the number of APRNs in Virginia’s workforce, we need funding for this program, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Health and offers a financial incentive for any Virginia licensed physician, physician's assistant or APRN who, in conjunction with a licensed and accredited Virginia public or private not-for-profit school of nursing, provides a clinical education rotation of 250 hours. Yesterday, we sent an email with details about this program and ways to contact your legislators.
Support VCNP’s PAC
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, VCNP has been working closely with the Governor’s office and leadership within the Virginia General Assembly to ensure pressing needs for our patients and the profession are addressed through executive action and various policy workgroups. We recognize that many of us have faced challenges, from providing front-line care to having changes in our employment or school program. Throughout this time, VCNP has been supporting our members and exploring legislative changes that will impact NPs in the future. To ensure that Virginia’s legislators continue hearing from NPs, we need your help. If you’re able, please consider making a one-time or recurring monthly donation to VCNP’s PAC. If every VCNP member gives $10, we would raise $17,000 toward our goal of $20,000 .
VCNP Member Speaks at White House
Amy Johnson, DNP, FNP-C, Lynchburg Region immediate past president, was invited to speak at the White House on July 16 for a press event about telehealth deregulation and the benefits to rural health.
VCNP is a non-partisan organization. While we did not coordinate Amy's presentation, we are proud to recognize her and the work she does in support of patient care and the NP profession.

VNA Legislative Meeting
VCNP’s lobbyist participated in this week’s VNA legislative roundtable meeting. In addition to supporting preceptor funding (which is highlighted above), VNA plans to address a robust agenda, with support from VCNP, during next month’s Special Session of the Virginia General Assembly or in 2021. Topics that were discussed include:
·       The feasibility of allowing Workers’ Compensation coverage for healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace.
·       Creating a professional program to address issues related to career fatigue or wellness for nurses. Similar legislation passed this Session for physicians.
·       Requiring at least one full-time school nurse in every school.
·       Permanently extending the provisions of the Governor’s emergency orders related to telemedicine and licensure, including relaxing some practice agreement requirements for APRNs.
·       Expanding the scope of practice and licensure for CNSs.
VCNP’s Government Relations committee will be closely following these issues and will share updates as available. For more information, contact Kim Bednar, GR committee chair, or your regional GR representative.
Members offer assistance with autonomous practice applications
Do you have questions about the autonomous practice licensure process, completing the application, or how this licensure will impact your practice? Contact [email protected] to be connected with a VCNP member who will answer your questions and guide you through the application process.

If you’ve received your license or know of someone who did then let us acknowledge them and/or celebrate with you! Please share your/their photo and why you/they applied – but be sure to get their permission first.
As NPs, I know we are being pulled in many directions, both personally and professionally. Thank you for your continued dedication to your patients and our profession. Please let me know how VCNP can be a resource for you.

Becky Compton, DNP, RN, FNP-BC
President, VCNP Board of Directors