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The Role of American Nurses Association in Improving The Quality of Healthcare

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The ANA, or American Nurses Association is a professional national organization for registered nurses. The mission statement of the ANA is “Nurses advancing our profession to improve health for all” (). Stakeholders in the organization are RN’s who have either joined the ANA directly or are members of affiliate organizations or state nurses associations. These affiliate organizations must be national nursing organization that meets criteria established by the ANA House of Delegates and are granted organizational affiliate status by the ANA’s Board of Directors (). The ANA takes a very active role in influencing healthcare laws and regulations. The ANA lobbies congress and other agencies on issues that affect nurses and the general public. On top of this the ANA advocates for nurses rights in the workplace and fosters high standards of nursing practice. Their stance on healthcare reform can be found on their website which states that while the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will provide the public with better access to preventative services and protect against losing insurance, the debate over healthcare is not over, and the organization will continue to promote nurses and take action to ensure the successful implementation of healthcare reform ().

A bill in congress that the ANA is currently supporting is the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act (H.R. 2504). This bill was introduced into the house on June 26th, 2013 by Reps. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), and referred to the House subcommittee on health. This bill would revise conditions of and limitations on payment for home health care services so that NP’s and PA’s would be able to certify Medicaid patients for home health and sign home health plans of care ().

Home healthcare has been associated with improved outcomes and lower costs (). Access to home healthcare keeps patients out of extended living facilities (). This bill will widen the scope of practice for ACRNs in order to allow greater access to home healthcare. The problem this policy addresses is that currently NP’s and PA’s, who operate as many patients primary healthcare provider, cannot recommend a Medicare patient for home health care. The laws governing Medicare reimbursement are complex. But this bill seeks to address the issue that the home healthcare agency would not be reimbursed if recommended by a NP or PA. Currently under the social security act a patient must meet face to face with a physician to receive a recommendation for home healthcare. This causes delays in treatments and creates an unnecessary burden for Medicare patients. The majority of Medicare beneficiaries are over 65 years of age. Those beneficiaries who are under 65 are disabled. These patients might not have easy access to a physician. By allowing NP’s to recommend home healthcare, these patients wont have delays in treatment and may have better outcomes.

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