A Note from Your VCNP President
The General Assembly’s special session began today to allow lawmakers additional time to discuss bills introduced during the 2021 session. Our bill, House Bill 1737, passed the House of Delegates and was carried over into this special session. The bill will be heard in the Senate Education and Health Committee at 8 am tomorrow, February 11. Please continue contacting your legislators to ask for their support. We will continue to keep you updated on the bill’s status through email and social media.
VCNP in the news
VCNP's Southwest Region President Carole Everhart shared her thoughts about the benefits of HB 1737 in Monday’s Roanoke Times.
If you’d like to speak out about HB 1737 in your local paper, please contact VCNP Public Relations staff.
Additional General Assembly updates
HB 2333 and SB 1145 both passed the General Assembly and are awaiting the Governor’s Signature. These bills provide a less cumbersome way for healthcare providers to volunteer than through the normal Medical Reserve Corps so long as they meet specific training requirements related to the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. The bills will go into effect upon the Governor’s signature because of the emergency clause.
HB 1985 establishes a presumption that COVID-19 causing the death or disability of health care providers is an occupational disease compensable under the Workers' Compensation Act. The bill passed the House of Delegates and carried over to the special session. It is currently waiting to be docketed by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.
The Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee has released its budget, which includes funding for the Virginia Preceptor Incentive Program. We are waiting for the House Appropriations Committee to release its budget to determine if funding is included. This program, administered by the Virginia Department of Health, offers financial incentive for any Virginia licensed physician, physician's assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse 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.

COVID-19 Workplace Regulations
Earlier this year, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s Safety and Health Codes Board voted to adopt Governor Northam’s workplace safety regulations concerning COVID-19. On January 27, the regulations went into effect and will be in effect at least until the state of emergency ends. Virginia is the first state to implement COVID-19 workplace safety regulations.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced a fifth amendment to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act declaration. Additional categories of healthcare personnel who are able to prescribe, dispense and administer FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines were added under this amendment. Any provider who is licensed and certified in one state is now authorized to do so in any other state or U.S. territory. In addition, if a healthcare personnel’s license or certification expired within the last five years but was previously active and in good standing, they may also prescribe, dispense and administer the vaccines. CDC training and on-site observation will be required of personnel acting under this amendment.
Upcoming Free Vaccine Workshops
February 18 at 12PM: What is Vaccine Confidence?
Nicole Parkerson, Regional Medical Director for Merck & Co., Inc. will lead a 40-minute workshop and provide participants with background information on vaccine hesitancy. She will also provide proven solutions for how participants can increase vaccine confidence among patients. This workshop is intended for healthcare providers who talk with patients about vaccines. Register at tinyurl.com/4wla2aqj.
March 4 at 12PM: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Phase 3 Safety and Efficacy Data
Kent Hunter, PharmD, BS, Medical Affairs Vaccines Director for Pfizer, Inc. will lead this hour-long workshop and provide participants with an overview of phase 3 safety and efficacy for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. This workshop is intended for healthcare practitioners who administer vaccines. Register at tinyurl.com/672z4fdx.
FDA COVID-19 Update
New resources pertaining to COVID-19 have been announced by the FDA. These include new guidance, updates on testing and revised frequently asked questions.
Share your COVID vaccine photos
Many NPs have already rolled up their sleeves to get the COVID vaccine. We’d like to share photos of these momentous occasions so please share your pictures (please do not include patients or your vaccination paperwork in photos) with us for use in future VCNP communications.
Support NPs in Virginia - Apply for autonomous practice 
Although autonomous practice may not benefit you at the moment, legislators are evaluating the number of NPs applying for autonomous licensure following the 2021 Joint Board Study. Since this number will be considered when reviewing future legislation, it is critical for NPs statewide to submit an application. We do not want our NP colleagues to miss this opportunity due to low numbers. Please submit your application and show your support for Virginia’s NPs.
As of February 2, there were 1,108 NPs with autonomous practice licenses in Virginia. If you have questions or need assistance with the application process, contact VCNP staff.
Share your autonomous practice stories
Thanks to Executive Order 57 enacted by Governor Northam in April 2020, NPs have been able to practice under the temporary 2-year regulation during the state of emergency. We want to hear from you! Have you received your autonomous practice license under the current 5-year experience requirements? Have you been able to practice under the temporary regulations during the pandemic? Let us know how autonomous practice is impacting your practice and why you think it’s important for other NPs to apply. Send your stories – and a photo if you have one – VCNP's Public Relations staff.
Support VCNP’s PAC by donating
VCNP continues to actively work to improve health care for all Virginians and to move NP practice forward in the Commonwealth. In recent years we’ve benefitted from HB 793, HB 1640 and EO 57 – and this year we introduced HB 1737. To ensure Virginia’s legislators hear our voice, please consider making a donation to VCNP’s PAC. Our goal with these donations is to continuously move toward full practice authority for practicing NPs in Virginia.
As we near the one-year “anniversary” of COVID-19 in Virginia, I want to thank you for your perseverance and ongoing dedication to your patients and the NP profession. Please be sure to take some time to care for yourself, and let me know how VCNP can continue to be a resource for you.
Becky Compton, DNP, RN, FNP-BC
President, VCNP Board of Directors