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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

0 physicians in the fields of general internal medicine and family medicine by the year 2025. Advocates of nurse-led care point out that while the current acute physician shortage is only projected to worsen in the coming years, the number of advanced practice nurses will rise significantly.

The implications for health care reform of the doctor shortage could be staggering. In Massachusetts, for example, passage of a universal insurance plan has overwhelmed the system's existing supply of primary care physicians. As of 2008, only 52 percent of internists in Massachusetts are accepting new patients. In the face of acute primary care physician shortages and steady reductions in the number of physicians who are willing to accept Medicaid and Medicare, it is unclear whether our existing primary care system will be able to meet the needs of a universally insured nation.

University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded "Raise the Voice" campaign of the American Academy of Nursing, said: "While increasing access to health insurance will help improve access to health care, our nation's health care crisis cannot be solved by insurance alone. Enhanced nurse practitioner involvement in primary care has the potential to dramatically increase access to health care, improve care for patients with chronic diseases, and improve the efficiency of the health care system, all by maximizing the use of our existing health care resources. One option - Nurse-Managed Heath Centers need additional federal funding. Just as important, nurses need a seat at the table when true reform is being debated."

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell said: "The 'Prescription for Pennsylvania' experience, which two years ago focused on implementing innovative, n
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SOURCE American Academy of Nursing, Washington, D.C.
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