A Note from Your VCNP President
Graduation is in the air! Congratulations to Melissa Fincham, BSN, RN, PCCN (MSN-FNP from UVA), Hayley Fletcher, BSN, RN, PCCN (MSN-FNP from ODU) and Kim Kennedy, BSN, RN, CWON (MSN in adult gerontology acute care NP program at UVA) on their graduations this spring!

If you’re graduating from an NP or DNP program this spring, send us your name, credentials and program you’re graduating from so we can recognize you in future VCNP communications. Don’t forget to send a photo if you have one. Contact [email protected].
Governor eases COVID restrictions, announces future plans
Beginning this Saturday, May 15, Governor Northam will ease some COVID restrictions including increasing social gathering and recreational sporting limits, increasing entertainment venue capacity limits, and allowing restaurants to sell alcohol after midnight. Last week the Governor announced that if trends continue in the right direction, he plans to lift Virginia’s mitigation measures, capacity restrictions and social distancing requirements on June 15.
The Governor’s declared state of emergency is set to expire on June 30. Mask mandates cannot continue without a state of emergency being in effect, however the Governor also stated that future masking measures will need to be worked out with the CDC. Virginians were reminded that in order for any resident to wear a mask (legally or voluntarily) in public, there must be a declared state of emergency.
Expanded eligibility for autonomous practice begins July 1 
As of May 3, there were 1,216 NPs with autonomous practice licenses in Virginia. Beginning July 1, NPs with 2+ years of experience will be eligible to apply, thanks to the success of House Bill 1737. We are awaiting guidance from the Board of Nursing about the application process for NPs with 2+ years of experience but would encourage you to begin collecting information for your application now. Information includes evidence of current NP license, evidence of current national professional certification, and evidence of clinical experience. If you have questions or need assistance with the application process, contact [email protected].

Although autonomous practice may not benefit you in your current job, applying for this licensure shows your commitment to the NP profession. Legislators will be reviewing these numbers during this fall’s Joint Board Study and considering this information when evaluating future legislation including VCNP’s 2022 bill.
Free webinar series – Racism is a Public Health Crisis
The Institute of Public Health Innovation is hosting a four-part “Racism is Public Health Crisis” webinar series. For a recording of the first webinar, “Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis in Virginia,” please click below.

The second webinar is scheduled for June 10 from 10-11:30 a.m. and will provide perspectives on the national landscape for similar resolutions and the next steps for Virginia. Details and registration info to come. The third and fourth webinars will be held in August and October.
VDH update
The VDH is reporting a statistically significant increase in Candida auris (C. auris) cases over the past 10 months in multiple regions of Virginia and in multiple types of healthcare facilities. Between September 2018 and June 2020, only three cases of C. auris were identified in Virginia. Since the beginning of July 2020, 37 cases have been identified.
CDC vaccination program provider requirements and support
All providers participating in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program are required to sign a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement. Providers are responsible for adhering to all requirements outlined in the agreement, including updated recommendations, requirements, and other guidance
CMS increases Medicare Payment for COVID-19 monoclonal antibody infusions 
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has increased the Medicare payment rate for administering monoclonal antibodies to treat beneficiaries with COVID-19, continuing coverage under the Medicare Part B COVID-19 vaccine benefit. Beneficiaries pay nothing out of pocket, regardless of where the service is furnished – including in a physician’s office, healthcare facility or at home.
Effective May 7, the national average payment rate increased from $310 to $450 for most health care settings. CMS will also establish a higher national payment rate of $750 when monoclonal antibodies are administered in the beneficiary’s home, including the beneficiary’s permanent residence or temporary lodging (e.g., hotel/motel, cruise ship, hostel, or homeless shelter).
Virginia vaccine updates
As of May 11, more than 3 million Virginians had been fully vaccinated, and more than 4 million Virginians had received one dose. Every person 16 years and older in the United States is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and as of May 10, the FDA expanded emergency authorization of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children ages 12-15.
Please encourage your patients, family and friends to use Virginia’s centralized system to preregister for free COVID-19 vaccines – online at vaccinate.virginia.gov or by phone at 877-VAX-INVA (829-4682). 
A new web site helps individuals locate clinics, pharmacies and other locations that are offering vaccines in their area. Visit www.vaccinefinder.org.
Share your autonomous practice stories
Do you own your own practice? Have you applied for autonomous practice under the current 5-year experience requirement? Have you been able to practice under Executive Order 57’s temporary regulations? Do you plan to apply under the 2-year experience requirement? We want to hear from you! Let us know how autonomous licensure is or will impact your practice and why you think it’s important for other NPs to apply. Send your stories – and a photo if you have one - to [email protected].
VCNP members in the news
Distinguished NP Award recipient Kathleen Putnam, PhD, WHNP-BC, spoke with WDBJ about her NP career.
VCNP Rising Star Award recipient Brenda Kozak, FNP-C, was interviewed for a WFXR story about her recent recognition. Click here for story
Deborah Gray, DNP, ANP-BC, FNP-C, FAANP, was recognized with ODU’s Provost Award for Leadership in International Education.
Deborah Gray, DNP, ANP-BC, FNP-C, FAANP, shared her experience with Shot@Life, a grassroots advocacy campaign to improve the health of children worldwide by increasing access to vaccines.
Support VCNP’s PAC
To ensure Virginia’s legislators continue hearing our voice, please consider making a donation to VCNP’s PAC. You can make a recurring or one-time donation.
As you continue to care for patients during the pandemic, don’t forget to take some time to care for yourself, both personally and professionally. Please let me know how VCNP can continue to be a resource for you. Thank you for all you do!
Becky Compton, DNP, RN, FNP-BC
President, VCNP Board of Directors