University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell: Nurse Practitioners Are Key to Obama Health Care Reform, Call for Increased Federal Funding for Innovative Nurse-Managed Health Care
Solution Already in Place: “Nurse-Managed Health Centers” Essential to Easing Health Care Crisis; Even as Doctor Shortage Worsens, Nurses Are Able to Triple Number of Patients Aided.
Shalala, Rendell and the others agreed that “Nurse-Managed Health Centers” – an innovative delivery model for primary and preventive care, especially for low-income and vulnerable populations – will be a vital ingredient in any plan to increase the capacity of the nation’s health care delivery system. The good news is that these nurse practitioner-led facilities are a “solution in plain sight” that already has been tested in
Experts have expressed great concern about the nation’s supply of primary care physicians, and their ability to meet the needs of patients throughout
The implications for health care reform of the doctor shortage could be staggering. In
National Nursing Centers Consortium Executive Director
Independence Foundation President
A FIVE-POINT PLAN
The National Nursing Centers Consortium, a non-profit organization comprised of Nurse-Managed Health Centers throughout the country, has a five-point plan with new ideas to increase access to health care, improve care for patients with chronic diseases, and improve the efficiency of the health care system:
- Ensure Access to Care for the Underserved by Protecting the Government’s Investment in Nurse-Managed Health Centers. Many Nurse-Managed Health Centers are affiliated with academic schools of nursing, and received federal start-up funding through the HRSA Division of Nursing. Although these centers serve a high percentage of uninsured patients, they often cannot qualify for the enhanced resources that the government offers Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). By increasing funding and reimbursement for this innovative model of care, the government can encourage the sustainability of existing primary care access points and help health centers offset the high costs of providing care to uninsured, low-income and vulnerable families.
- Improve Geriatric and Chronic Care by Adopting an Inclusive Definition of the “Medical Home.” Nurse practitioners are currently excluded from participating in a number of “medical home” initiatives – including the Medicare Medical Homes demonstration project administered by CMS – despite the fact that Nurse-Managed Health Centers serve as full-fledged primary care homes for hundreds of thousands of individuals. To ensure that America’s increasing population of seniors has access to high-quality, comprehensive primary care models, it is essential that the concept of the “medical home” be expanded to include nurse-led practices.
- Create More Efficient Infrastructure for Health Care Administration. Even though the process of provider credentialing is essentially the same for every insurer, providers must submit multiple credentialing applications to all insurers in his or her market. A unified credentialing clearinghouse for all health care providers could reduce or eliminate unnecessary delays and redundancies in the credentialing process. This could reduce administrative costs in health centers by 25 percent.
- Increase Opportunities for Health IT Implementation. Nurse practitioners and Nurse-Managed Health Centers must have the same opportunities as other providers to take part in initiatives designed to improve primary care outcomes. To achieve this, the government must fund Health IT initiatives outside of its existing funding frameworks, which tend to focus on physician-led practices and existing FQHCs. Given the nation’s growing shortage of primary care physicians, it is critical that the government ensures that Nurse-Managed Health Centers have access to incentives that would allow them to implement new Health IT initiatives and improve quality of care for their patients.
- Invite New Players to Join the Health Reform Discussion. Nurse practitioners are the fastest growing group of primary care professionals in the country. Although nurse-managed care models are a relatively new movement in health care, they reach large numbers of patients throughout the country. These providers have new ideas that promise to increase the accessibility and affordability of health care in
the United States. Without their voices at the health reform table, we may lose the opportunity to implement a more interdisciplinary, team-based model of health care.
To learn more about Nurse Managed Health Centers, please review the PowerPoint presentations of National Nursing Centers Consortium Executive Director
ABOUT THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF NURSING
The American Academy of Nursing (http://www.aannet.org) serves the public and the nursing profession by advancing health policy and practice through the generation, synthesis, and dissemination of nursing knowledge. Every day across America, the Academy and its members create and execute knowledge-driven and policy-related initiatives to drive reform of America’s health care system.
The American Academy of Nursing “Raise the Voice” campaign receives support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; today’s briefing was supported in part by the Independence Foundation.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A streaming audio recording of the news event will be available on the Web as of
SOURCE American Academy of Nursing,