The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in 2010 came with tremendous healthcare reforms in the U.S. It is worth acknowledging that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is also commonly referred to as Obamacare. The law came into place with the aim of reforming healthcare and ensuring improved patient outcomes and the nursing practice as a whole. It aims at ensuring that patients who cannot afford healthcare services receive an easier access through the extension of insurance services for more than 30 million uninsured citizens in the country. The law also aimed at reforming healthcare and securing the future of nursing by investing in the sector and ensuring nurses access quality education and training to perform their activities in a more professional way.
Current essay explicates healthcare reform and the future of nursing in line with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
Forces Driving Healthcare Reform
Legislative, Consumer, and Ethical Forces
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is driving changes in healthcare delivery by expanding insurance coverage for more people who did not have an access to healthcare. Summer (2011) opined that the law aims at ensuring that most people have an access to insurance services at reduced costs hence giving them an opportunity to access healthcare at any given time. Apart from the less fortunate, the wide insurance coverage includes individuals with chronic conditions, such as cancer, hence ensuring they are not excluded from access to cheap healthcare. Additionally, the law is driving changes in healthcare delivery by engaging in investments to improve the capacity of healthcare providers and boost the delivery of healthcare in a coordinated manner. It entails the improvement of hospitals and the assurance that they have adequate capacity to support the increasing number of patients.
Consumer expectations have also been crucial in driving healthcare reform in the U.S. More consumers expect to be covered under the new plan with the aim of accessing cheap healthcare in instances where they need it. Increasing consumer expectations have ensured that insurance providers cut down their costs as most of them rush to be insured. There have been enormous reforms in the healthcare sector as the Government increases the number of nurses in health facilities to meet consumer expectations on quality healthcare delivery.
The Affordable Care Act is based on a number of ethical principles. According to Abrams, Nuzum, Mika & Lawlor (2011), one of the ethical principles relates to the coverage of individuals with pre-existing conditions. It prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to such individuals as it is tantamount to unethical behavior. Another crucial ethical principle of the Act is accountability. All healthcare providers and workers are expected to be accountable in the course of delivering healthcare. Accountability relates to their relationship with patients and the assurance of safety to patients. Additionally, the legislation is based on the ethical principle of competency. It means that nurses and other healthcare practitioners must always be ready to work in line with a high level of competency.
New Models of Delivering Care
The most significant new healthcare delivery modes that are being developed to address the mandates and consumer expectations are Patient Centered Medical Home and Accountable Care Organizations. It is worth noting that the Patient Centered Medical Home is a healthcare delivery model that entails the assurance that patients get an access to treatment any time they need it and where they need it. In line with this mode of delivery, care is provided through registries, health information access, and information technology. On the other hand, Accountable Care Organizations entail an organized entity made up of nurses, other healthcare providers, and hospitals that facilitate effective delivery of healthcare.
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Impact on Nursing Practice
Nurse Leader Roles and Skills
The new healthcare delivery systems entail numerous roles and skills for nurse leaders. Nurse leaders will have to fulfill new roles including working in the capacity of care coordinators where they supervise the delivery of new care. Another role is working as faculty team leaders. It means that they would be required to move in the required manner to make up teams that will embrace the new healthcare system in the country hence increasing efficiency. Marquis and Huston (2009) agreed that the third role for nursing leaders is working as nursing cooperative facilitators as they improve the quality of healthcare in their institutions. Nurse leaders would also be required to exhibit numerous skills including decision-making skills on the quality of healthcare, informatics skills, and innovative skills to boost the quality of care.
Clinical Nurse Roles and Skills Nurses
The new law emphasizes the need for prevention and care for patients with acute conditions. The most crucial roles for clinical nurses would be to enhance prevention and improve the quality of care for patients with acute conditions. It is instrumental in promoting the quality of healthcare delivery and the control of disease spread in the country. Overall, nurses are required to embrace new skills, such as caring, technological, and communication, that would ensure they meet their patient’s needs in the most effective manner.
The Future of Nursing
The future of nursing is apparently bright under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Buerhaus, Applebaum, Hess, Norman, and Donelan (2012) asserted that the practice of nursing would improve in the next 5 to 10 years, as most nurses receive an opportunity to access quality education and training in the field. It will ensure that they understand the needs of patients effectively hence promoting the quality of healthcare. Professionalism will be realized in the next 5 to 10 years because of the extensive education and training opportunities for nurses all over the country. The increasing number of nurses will also improve the practice of nursing in the next few years. More nurses in hospitals will boost the quality of healthcare hence improving the entire practice of nursing in the U.S.
Nursing will meet the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) through increased access of its members to education and training in the field. Nurses should take the available training opportunities to ensure that they meet the recommendations of IOM on the future of nursing. Education and training will offer them better skills and the confidence to deliver services professionally. These recommendations would be realized at a high degree in cases where nurses are willing to embrace education and training. Continuous emphasis on training will ensure that these recommendations are met at the highest degree possible in the nursing profession.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has played an instrumental role in reforming healthcare in the U.S. The legislation focuses on improving the position of both patients and nurses hence leading to the realization of nursing objectives. It reiterates the need to give all citizens an access to affordable care through subsidized insurance covers. Increased consumer needs have played an instrumental role in reforming healthcare through increased insurance cover and nursing requirements in hospitals around the country. The roles of nursing leaders are also changing, as they have to coordinate their members toward the implementation of the new healthcare law. The future of nursing is bright especially with the promotion of education and training for nurses with the aim of promoting the quality of healthcare in the U.S.
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