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ADVANCE Voice: NP

Head of the Home

Published April 22, 2010 11:05 AM by Michelle Perron
 The common and rousing thread in many sessions at last week's NAPNAP conference (National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners) was the call to action on healthcare reform, specifically the provisions for healthcare medical homes.

The legislation contains language authorizing the creation of demonstration projects for this model, which aims to create a seamless healthcare continuum - with the primary care provider at the helm - for each patient. As several presenters explained, the model was first proposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics for children with chronic health conditions or special needs. As it evolved, nurse practitioners emerged as the competent and most appropriate leaders of healthcare homes.

It's great that the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act includes language and appropriations to expand the availability of the healthcare medical home and school-based healthcare centers. Unfortunately the legislation didn't go far enough. It doesn't name nurse practitioners as leaders of these homes. Although language lists NPs as appropriate providers in these projects, it doesn't specifically state that NPs can be the primary care leaders.

The good news is that this need can still be addressed. The implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act is going to start evolving quickly (the companion appropriations bill designates some grant funds to be available later this year), and the details are going to be hammered out on the state level.

Now is the time for you to join your state and national NP organizations. Get keyed in to their political action committees, their health policy committees and any similar bodies working on legislative issues. A brass ring of sorts has presented itself. Make sure your grab it.

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