Ad­vance prac­tice nurses can play role in pre­serv­ing ru­ral ac­cess

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing “As ru­ral hos­pi­tals strug­gle, so­lu­tions sought to pre­serve health­care ac­cess” (Mod­ern Health­care, May 18, p. 8), it was dis­cour­ag­ing to read this ar­ti­cle and note that not a sin­gle ad­min­is­tra­tor men­tioned the use of ad­vanced prac­tice reg­is­tered nurses, such as nurse prac­ti­tion­ers and nurse midwives, as at least a par­tial so­lu­tion to fill­ing the need in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties for pri­mary care, well­ness care, women’s health and pre­na­tal care and episodic/ur­gent care.

Re­search clearly demon­strates that th­ese spe­cially pre­pared nurses give as good—and some­times bet­ter—pri­mary and episodic care, and man­age chronic, sta­ble health prob­lems, as other providers. In­cen­tives will be needed to at­tract th­ese grad­u­ate-level ed­u­cated and na­tion­ally cer­ti­fied nurses, just as ru­ral ar­eas of­fer in­cen­tives to physi­cians to prac­tice in ru­ral ar­eas. Also, state leg­is­la­tures and in­sur­ance com­mis­sions will need to en­sure that laws al­low th­ese nurses to be el­i­gi­ble for re­im­burse­ment by third-party and gov­ern­ment-spon­sored in­sur­ance plans.

Jean Far­ley, RN

As­sis­tant pro­fes­sor, nurs­ing

Ge­orge­town Uni­ver­sity

Wash­ing­ton

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