Health Care Reform Package Includes Unprecedented Investment in Nurse-Led Health Clinics
Passage of H.R. 3590 Will Improve Access to Cost-Effective Health Care for Low-Income and Vulnerable Populations Nationwide
PHILADELPHIA, March 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – When health care reform was signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday, it signaled the beginning of a new era for nurse-led health care. H.R. 3590 will capitalize on the ability of nurse practitioners to provide high-quality primary and preventive care by defining “nurse-managed health clinic” in the Public Health Service Act and creating a new $50 million grant program to support innovative safety net providers.
Nurse-managed health clinics serve as crucial health care access points in areas where primary care physicians are in short supply. These health centers are led by advanced practice nurses (primarily nurse practitioners). Sometimes called nurse-managed health centers or NMHCs, they provide primary care, health promotion, and disease prevention services to patients who are least likely to receive ongoing health care services. This population includes clients of all ages who are uninsured, underinsured, living in poverty, or members of racial and ethnic minority groups.
In addition to providing services directly to clients, nurse-managed health clinics also play an important role in health profession education. The majority are affiliated with schools and colleges of nursing and serve as clinical education and practice sites for health profession students and faculty. More than 85 of the nation’s leading nursing schools operate nurse-managed health clinics that provide high-quality, cost-effective primary care to patients and enhance learning and practice opportunities for nursing students and faculty. In addition, many have partnerships with other academic programs and provide learning opportunities for medical, pharmacy, social work, public health, and other students.
Experts have repeatedly expressed concern about the nation’s supply of primary care physicians, and its ability to meet the needs of a nation with universal health insurance. Health care reform will extend health coverage to as many as 30 million currently uninsured Americans, which could place great strain on our existing health care delivery system. For this reason, health care reform legislation promotes the sustainability of existing community-based providers such as nurse-managed health clinics, which act as both health workforce development sites and safety net providers.
“The current shortage of primary care physicians is likely to increase during the next twenty years, resulting in a shortage of as many as 44,000 physicians in the fields of general internal medicine and family medicine by the year 2025,” says Tine Hansen-Turton, MGA, JD, Chief Executive Officer of the National Nursing Centers Consortium (NNCC). “NNCC applauds the passage of health care reform and looks forward to working with the government to ensure a smooth implementation process.”
Kenneth P. Miller, PhD, RN, CFNP, FAAN, the Chairperson of the NNCC Board of Directors, adds: “The inclusion of nurse-managed health clinics in health care reform shows that lawmakers understand that our health care issues cannot be solved by insurance alone, and that nurse practitioners are the future of primary care in the United States.”
National Nursing Centers Consortium (NNCC) represents nurse-managed health centers serving vulnerable people across the country. NNCC strengthens the capacity of its members to provide quality health care services to vulnerable populations and to eliminate health disparities in underserved communities. For more information on NNCC, visit www.nncc.us.
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that builds healthier communities through partnerships with government, foundations, businesses and other community-based organizations. It fulfills its mission to improve the health of the community by providing outreach, health promotion, education, research, planning, technical assistance and direct services. PHMC has served the Greater Philadelphia region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit www.phmc.org.
SOURCE National Nursing Centers Consortium