Shalala advocates for nurses’ role in reform

The American Academy of Nurses hosted a press conference on Friday to push for the inclusion of nurses in the move to reform health care. Participants also discussed some alternatives to the current system that would use nurses as primary care providers in some cases.

University of Miami president Donna Shalala, former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, opened the briefing:

“We’re here today to make a very specific point. We want to say loud and clear that nurse practitioners are going to be key to health care reform in the Obama era and that nurses must be at the table when the system is overhauled. In other words, nurses are part of the solution. Nurse practitioners, in particular.”

She points to Massachusetts and its lack of primary care providers as an example of what could happen if nurses are not included in the reform conversation. She discusses “nurse-managed health centers” as an option that she describes as an “innovative delivery model.”

Other speakers included Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, Tine Hansen-Turton of the National Nursing Centers Consortium, and Susan E. Sherman, president of the Independence Foundation.

Audio of the news conference is available, as are bios of the speakers and two PowerPoint presentations.

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