Proper access to health care is one of the most crucial issues in many countries of the world. In the US, this question is also a rather important one. There are people whose income does not allow them to count on receiving the full specter of healthcare services once they become ill. To eliminate the causes of people’s insufficient access to health services and to optimize the healthcare system, legislators work hard on suggesting and implementing new health reforms every few years. One of such reforms in the Person-centered healthcare reform aimed at allowing the underinsured population to get access to better healthcare options.
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Description of the Policy
The reform discussed has been introduced into legislation from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The person-centered reform aims at making healthcare services accessible to each citizen. The reform is related to improving access to care to those previously uninsured. The cost of care is closely connected to its quality. Therefore, the Person-centered reform sets a goal to make health care more accessible through improving it (McClellan, 2013). A number of proposals outlined in this policy aim to save $1 trillion over the next two decades and simultaneously increase the quality of health care. What is most important is that the uninsured population will get access to healthcare services. Thus, every citizen will be equal in receiving help in the sphere of medicine.
The reform presupposes the following adjustments to the current healthcare system:
- arranging proper access to Medicare data;
- creating more effective and rational standards of quality care;
- sharing the experience of best practices to enhance care for dual-eligible beneficiaries (“Person-centered health care reform,” 2016).
Person-centered healthcare reform was introduced by Senator Tom Daschle, the former US Senate majority leader, on April 29, 2013 (Brookings institution, 2013). Daschle was supported by Gov. Michael Leavitt. The healthcare reform was co-authored by Alice M. Rivlin from Brookings Institution (Brookings institution, 2013; “Person-centered health care reform,” 2016).
Role of ARNP Supporting this Bill
As a future APN, I strongly support better access of every citizen to medical care. This especially concerns the uninsured citizens. People belonging to the underserved population have the same healthcare needs as those who can afford insurance. Quite frequently, underserved population representatives have greater health problems due to the living conditions or the style of life. My role as an ARNP in supporting the Person-centered health care reform is multidimensional.
First of all, it is my duty as an APN to provide patients with the best possible care. All people should have equal access to healthcare services. However, as statistical data indicates, uninsured citizens address doctors five times less frequently as the insured people (Zwilling, 2015). As a professional, I have to do everything possible to enhance the quality and safety of health care (The American geriatrics society expert panel on person-centered care, 2016). Therefore, it is my primary responsibility to find ways of providing help and support for all patients, particularly, uninsured ones.
Secondly, it is my responsibility to promote such policies as Person-centered health care reform. APNs’ work is not only about providing care to people. It is also about doing our best to find ways of improving the existing ways of dealing with patients in a variety of healthcare facilities. Therefore, APNs should take an active part in discussing and defending the reform. It is obvious that this bill can provide better health outcomes for a lot of people and at the same time, it will save the country’s expenses of health care.
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Thirdly, I can also assist people to understand the policy by providing them with necessary information about their rights and possibilities. Working with underserved populations is a challenging issue. These patients are frequently uneducated or anxious about any new reforms, as well as existent healthcare policies. It is my job to explain to them that there is nothing to be afraid of and that they should address medical facilities when their health is in danger. By doing so, I will make sure that more people have access to care including preventive services and disease management.
These are the three major ways in which APNs can support Person-centered health care reform. If every nurse does his or her best to promote the reform and increase people’s awareness of it, the health care system in the US will be greatly improved and will suggest better prospects for its citizens.
Clinical Practices and Best Outcomes
The ACA supports full practice authority for the ARNPs (Odell, Kippenbrock, Buron, & Narcisse, 2013). By doing so, more patients will obtain access to quality care through the increased number of primary care providers (PCPs) (Odell et al., 2013). As ARNPs have been educated in preventive care and primary care using best practices and evidence-based practice, we should eventually see better outcomes for all patients and decrease spending of health care dollars. It is of particular importance that more APNs should be assigned to work with underserved populations to provide these people with the necessary help and health education.
Moreover, not only the number of such healthcare practitioners is necessary to make a change (Odell et al., 2013). Additional opportunities for preventive care are needed to solve the problem with expenditures in the health care system (DeKoninck & Christenbery, 2015). APNs should organize the possibilities for people’s better access to health care. We need to organize educational programs for underserved (uninsured) populations in order to raise their awareness of their rights.
For healthcare practices to be most successful, it is necessary to organize the cooperation of various professionals who would combine their efforts to provide excellent cost-effective care. If I were to choose the people for such an interdisciplinary team, I would include healthcare practitioners competent in various spheres. However, collaboration with outside professionals should be established as well. Thus, I would also invite psychologists and social workers in my team. These specialists’ services will be invaluable when communicating with underserved populations who sometimes need extra help in understanding their rights and explaining their needs. By organizing an interdisciplinary team, I will be able to provide the best care for my patients.
The system of health care is one of the most complicated and, at the same time, the most essential spheres of the country. Due to a variety of changes in people’s needs and possibilities, every professional need to do his or her best to provide patients with the most beneficial health outcomes. One of the crucial issues is providing equal and cost-effective care to all populations. The Person-centered health care reform aims at finding ways of giving all citizens equal access to health care. The role of APNs in this endeavor is great, as we are responsible for informing people about their rights and helping to promote the reform.
Brookings institution. (2013). Bending the curve: Person-centered healthcare reform [Video file].
DeKoninck, B., & Christenbery, T. (2015). Skin cancer screening in the medically underserved population: A unique opportunity for APNs to make a difference. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 27(9), 501-506.
McClellan, M. B. (2013, May 9). Bending the cost curve in heath care the right way – Through better, more person-centered care. Brookings.
Odell, E., Kippenbrock, T., Buron, W., & Narcisse, M.-R. (2013). Gaps in the primary care of rural and underserved populations: The impact of nurse practitioners in four Mississippi Delta states. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 25(12), 659-666.
The American geriatrics society expert panel on person-centered care. (2016). Person-centered care: A definition and essential elements. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 64(1), 15-18.
Zwilling, J. G. (2015). Advance practiced nursing within health care settings: Organizational roles. In K. A. Blair & M. P. Jansen (Eds.), Advanced practice nursing: Core concepts for professional role development (5th ed.) (pp. 57-66). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.