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University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell: Nurse Practitioners Are Key to Obama Health Care Reform, Call for Increased Federal Funding for Innovative Nurse-Managed Health Care
Date:5/8/2009

Solution Already in Place: "Nurse-Managed Health Centers" Essential to Easing Health Care Crisis; Even as Doctor Shortage Worsens, Nurses Are Able to Triple Number of Patients Aided.

WASHINGTON, May 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Health care reform that focuses on fixing health insurance without dealing with the chronic and growing shortage of primary care physicians is likely to encounter "Massachusetts-style growing pains" unless nurse practitioners are fully involved in health care reform, according to University of Miami President and former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Donna E. Shalala, Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, and other experts brought together today by the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) and its "Raise the Voice" (RTV) campaign.

Shalala, Rendell and the others agreed that "Nurse-Managed Health Centers" - an innovative delivery model for primary and preventive care, especially for low-income and vulnerable populations - will be a vital ingredient in any plan to increase the capacity of the nation's health care delivery system. The good news is that these nurse practitioner-led facilities are a "solution in plain sight" that already has been tested in Pennsylvania and 40 other states. Today, there already are over 250 Nurse-Managed Health Centers across the U.S. providing assistance to millions of Americans. It is estimated that these existing health centers could be expanded to reach over 20 million Americans, a significant number of the estimated 46 million Americans without health care insurance.

Experts have expressed great concern about the nation's supply of primary care physicians, and their ability to meet the needs of patients throughout the United States. The current downturn in the number of primary care physicians is likely to increase during the next 20 years, resulting in a shortage of as many as 44,00
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SOURCE American Academy of Nursing, Washington, D.C.
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