The American Academy of Nursing just held a news briefing on nurse-managed care and health centers as solutions for our ailing health care system. Former Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary and now president of University of Miami, Donna Shalala; Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell; Tine Hansen, CEO of the National Consortium of Nursing Centers and executive director of the Convenient Care Association; and Susan Sherman, president of the Independence Foundation, sent a coherent message: nurse practitioners (NPs) have developed an infrastructure of health centers and convenient care clinics (such as MinuteClinics) that can help our nation reform a health care delivery system that is currently unable to meet the primary health care needs of its people.
The point was made that there are excellent clinical and financial outcomes for these centers and NP care, leading Shalala and Rendell to say, “No more demonstrations!” In other words, these practices are tested and ready to be scaled up and sustained.
Shalala noted, “NPs are going to be key to health care reform and must be at the health care reform tables. Nurses are part of the solution. It’s a solution in plain sight.”
Tine Hansen and Governor Rendell spoke about the barriers and how to overcome them, with Governor Rendell pointing out that “it took 49 regulatory and statutory changes to remove the barriers to NP care in Pennsylvania.”
As I noted here earlier this week, the new HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently said that “to make health reform a reality, we need nurses at the forefront of the effort.” May the Obama administration take the abundant opportunities that already exist to make such statements more than just rhetoric.