AANP Survey Sheds Light on Nurse Practitioner Role in COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

A survey conducted in Spring of 2021 by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), a Modern Medicaid Alliance partner, highlights how NPs are stepping up to educate and vaccinate their patients and members of underserved communities. 

Nurse practitioners perform a wide range of primary, acute, and specialty health care services. By emphasizing health promotion, disease prevention, and health education, NPs help patients make healthy lifestyle choices and decrease out-of-pocket spending. 

Primary care nurse practitioners are more likely than primary care physicians to treat Medicaid beneficiaries. NPs prepared in a primary care focus, e.g., adult, family, gerontological, pediatric or women’s health, lead the NP community in serving vulnerable populations. Over 78% of NPs see Medicaid patients, and almost 90% of pediatric NPs have treated children primarily covered by Medicaid.  

NPs have answered the call of our nation’s health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services expanded the Medicaid home health regulations authorizing non-physician practitioners, including NPs, to order essential home health services for patients, such as medical equipment or therapy.  

An AANP survey conducted between March 15 and April 16, 2021,  further highlights the impact NPs have on curbing the spread of COVID-19 by educating their patients about the vaccine and administering the vaccine. Leading by example for their patients, over 94% of NP respondents said they were fully or partially vaccinated or actively on a waiting list for eligible providers. 9 in 10 NPs responded that they had spoken with their patients about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, about 25% of NPs have administered the COVID-19 vaccine to patients.  

NPs are mobilizing their vaccination education and outreach to underserved communities. Survey respondents stated that about half of their patients eligible for the vaccine had difficulty accessing it in their communities. To combat this lack of access along with increased vaccine hesitancy, AANP members continue to be on the frontlines. In fact, AANP’s President-elect April Kapu has led door-to-door vaccine scheduling drives in Kurdish and Hispanic communities as well as door-to-door vaccinations for elderly adults in Tennessee. Other examples of AANP members include a partnership countering misinformation and vaccinating people from underserved communities in Arizona, delivering vaccines to homebound patients in Philadelphia, and launching a community vaccination clinic in Colorado. 

These efforts, along with the ongoing work of NPs across the country to educate and vaccinate underserved communities, supplement the programs and partnerships Medicaid agencies have been involved in to improve the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. 

To learn more about how NPs have boosted vaccination rates and helped communities overcome vaccine hesitancy, read our Q&A here.