AARP: Consumer Access to Care Is Top Priority
We at the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action are transforming health care through nursing, and building a healthier America. Backed by AARP Foundation, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Campaign is working in every state to mobilize nurses, health providers, consumers, educators, and businesses to improve health by strengthening nursing on multiple fronts.
Our goals are based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report, with its broad focus on getting more Americans better access to high-quality, affordable health care when and where they need it.
But some state laws and federal policies prevent nurses, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), and other health professionals from practicing to the full extent of their education, training, and certification. As a number of state legislatures begin work now considering legislation to change these outdated laws, consumer access to care remains a top priority for AARP.
“Patients and families won’t get the care they need if we don’t take steps to maximize the use of all qualified health care providers,” says Susan Reinhard, RN, PhD, FAAN, senior vice president and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute, which includes the Center to Champion Nursing in America, of which she is chief strategist.
AARP’s Policy Book lays out its works on behalf of the public and includes this statement:
APRNs can provide consumers and their caregivers with access to convenient, cost-effective, and high-quality care. AARP endorses the recommendation of the [Institute of Medicine’s] October 2010 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, to remove scope-of-practice barriers.
There are many who benefit from AARP’s fight to break down the barriers that restrict APRNs, including residents of rural and other underserved areas of the country, and older people who need to receive care at home to continue living independently—and stay out of costly nursing homes.
Current laws in more than half the states take precious time away from patient care by making clinicians fill out unnecessary paperwork.
AARP has watched patients and older adults and states benefit when laws were modernized, cutting red tape and eliminating costly contracts.
AARP is calling on policymakers to put consumers first by supporting policies that assure that Americans can receive quality care whenever and wherever they need it. And the Campaign will continue its efforts to see that Americans have access to a nurse as needed.
Andrea Brassard, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, is senior strategic policy adviser for AARP’s Center to Champion Nursing in America.