Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Health Plan Would Give Nurses Wider Role

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Health Plan Would Give Nurses Wider Role

Article excerpt

A little over a year ago, the American Nurses Association and the Missouri Nurses Association enthusiastically endorsed Gov. Bill Clinton for president. The endorsement was not based on partisan politics. Rather, it was a choice about which candidate would do the best job to improve the health care of our patients. The endorsement was based largely on Clinton's commitment to fix a broken health-care system and to give nurses a more important role in the new system.

As the front-line deliverers of health care, nurses see the inequities and waste in health care today. As middle-income workers, we worry about our own health-care needs and what would happen if we get a catastrophic illness that could bankrupt our family or cause an insurance company to drop our coverage.

We see the people with diseases that could have been prevented with education and changes in lifestyles. We see the absence of primary-care physicians in inner cities and rural areas. We see people using emergency rooms because they do not have a primary-care provider. We see the waste of the paperwork burden, the endless forms. In fact, the average nurse fills out 19 forms for each patient.

Now that Clinton has fulfilled his commitment and proposed a health-care package that addresses the issues, the American Nurses Association and the Missouri Nurses Association are pleased to support his plan and to urge its enactment.

By now, we all know that the plan provides for affordable health care for every American, without regard to pre-existing conditions or where they work.

We see an increased emphasis on prevention, on childhood immunizations, on health education and on home health care for the elderly. The plan also assures all of us that an outrageously expensive illness will not cause us to lose our life's savings.

The plan envisions a larger role for nurses in delivering health care, a recognition that is long overdue. For example, the plan permits advanced-practice nurses - nurses with two to four years of postgraduate training - to be reimbursed when they serve as primary health-care providers. …

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