Nursing, HIV/AIDS, Continuity of Care, Treatment Advances, and the ACA: The Essentials

As the Affordable Care Act takes effect, a timely overview in AJN of recent developments in screening, treatment, care, and demographics of the HIV epidemic

CascadeofCare The ‘cascade of care’ (from the AJN article)

The newly released March issue of Health Affairs is devoted to looking at the ways the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect Americans with HIV/AIDS and those who have recently been in jail. One crucial feature of the ACA is that it prevents insurance companies from refusing coverage to those with a number of preexisting conditions. If you have a preexisting condition and don’t get insurance through work, you know how important this is.

Unfortunately, a large majority of those with HIV and AIDS do not have private health insurance. One article in the March issue of Health Affairs draws attention to the plight of the 60,000 or so uninsured or low-income people with HIV or AIDS who will not receive health insurance coverage because their states are among those that have chosen to opt out of the ACA provision that expands Medicaid eligibility. This means many patients in these states may lack consistent care and reliable access to life-saving drugs.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) improves patient quality of life and severely reduces expensive and debilitating or fatal long-term health problems in those with HIV/AIDS. As noted in AJN‘s March CE article, “Nursing […]

Forward or Back? Some Personal Notes on Why the Affordable Care Act Matters

By Jacob Molyneux, senior editor/blog editor

So today the U.S. Supreme Court did something a little surprising in upholding the individual mandate provision in the Affordable Care Act (here’s the text of the full decision). It was the right thing to do, given judicial precedent, but it still comes as a surprise that Chief Justice Roberts was the swing vote rather than Kennedy, or that they actually did this. Justice Roberts must have looked to his conscience and seen how history would judge him. Or it’s nice to think so.

This is good for many reasons: those under 26 on their parents’ plans can now stay there. A bunch of money earmarked for nurse education will not suddenly disappear. Health care exchanges holding insurance companies to minimum standards will be implemented. Accountable care organizations can continue to experiment in an effort to replace the disastrously expensive fee-for-service model with one tied more closely to outcomes. And a great deal more.

But now we should ask ourselves: Do we go forward or back? This is the real question when it comes to the American health care system. Going back isn’t an option, though many are sure to go on pretending it is (the Republicans will make repealing the Affordable Care Act a centerpiece […]

Changes in Latitude: Comparing Health Care Systems with Nurses Down Under

By Peggy McDaniel, BSN, RN, who writes the occasional post for this blog and currently works as a clinical liaison support manager of infusion in Australia, New Zealand, and Asia Pacific.

I recently found myself sitting on a boat, enjoying a “sausage sizzle,” dressed as a pirate no less. In Australia, a party that includes barbecued meat usually includes sausage; thus the name. The pirate theme was an added bonus. As an American and a nurse, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself seated at the same table as two Australian nurses. What were the chances of that? The conversation that evening gave me some insight into the Australian health care system, which I am just getting familiar with.

Comparing health care systems. Once we all realized we were experienced nurses and shared the belief that quality patient care should always be the primary focus of health care, the conversation turned to cost. In Australia, there is a public health option that all Australians can access. It is paid for by taxes. If you choose to do so, you can also purchase a private plan to supplement this public option. I have yet to determine what part, if any, employers play in paying for health care or private insurance. However, a sick Australian will always get care and not incur a lifetime of debt for that care within their public […]

October 26th, 2011|health care policy, nursing perspective|44 Comments

What Nursing Independence? And Other Notes from the Nursosphere…

Here’s some stuff we’re reading online this week:

In one of the health systems that I interface with nurses can no longer document that they held a patient’s medications based on ‘nursing judgment’. Such an instance might be when a patient had hypotension from pain medication and thus the morning anti-hypertensive is held. Instead, they need an order from a physician to hold such medication. Further, something like ‘Tylenol’ on a patient’s medication record ordered for fever could not be administered by the nurse for a headache if the patient requested it because that would be ‘practicing medicine without a license’.  A nurse cannot order a social services consult, flush a urinary catheter should it become clogged, refer a patient for diabetes education, etc., etc., without an order from the supervising physician.

That’s from a smart, if somewhat depressing, blog post at Nurse Story called “Independent Nursing Practice: Reality or Still the ‘Physician’s Hand’?” The writer, Terri Schmitt, goes on to wonder just how nurses can carve out areas of independent practice, even in the most basic matters. Good questions.

And here’s a question of interpretation raised by an incident in Colorado involving a nurse and the policeman who stopped her for speeding:

When Colorado Springs cardiac nurse Miriam Leverington was stopped for speeding, she grumbled to the police officer.

“I hope you are not ever my patient,” she reportedly told him.

What happened next has become a topic of widespread debate in Colorado and on the blogosphere. The police officer, Duaine Peters, complained to the […]

September 21st, 2010|career, nursing perspective|0 Comments

Notes from the Healthweb and Nursosphere

This week Not Nurse Ratched has an amusing, meandering, and thoughtful post about the uses of Facebook by patients in the hospital. There’s a short excerpt below, but read the whole thing here.

They update Facebook constantly. CONSTANTLY. They have us take photos of injuries they can’t reach so they can post the photos to Facebook. I am not making this up. “I want a photo of my hideously dislocated ankle/knee/shoulder but I can’t move, so would you mind using my phone to take a picture for me?” And they keep updating and updating. I have actually said, “I’m about to give you a medicine that is going to render you unconscious immediately, so you should set your phone down.”

How could we have a weekly Web roundup that doesn’t at least mention health insurance reform? The spotlight has been slowly turning toward the insurers themselves, a crucial part of the equation (along with cost control and many other factors). This week Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius met with the top executives of insurance companies to demand an explanation for the steep increases in rates seen in the last year.

If you’re looking for yet another reason why processed food isn’t good for you (besides the frequent presence of high fructose corn syrup and massive doses of salt, and the inaccurate packaging claims that the foods are “healthy” and “lean”), this week the NY Times reported news […]