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Oregon Nurse Online Article [NPs and Health Care Transformation] [02/25/13]

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Nurse Practitioners Explore New Ways to Participate in Health Care Transformation

By Tara L. Gregory, MSNHA, FNP-BC, ONA Nursing Practice Consultant

Nurse practitioners from around the state came together in Portland for the 35th Annual Nurse Practitioners of Oregon Education Conference last fall. The conference focused on educational offerings that inform, challenge, and personalize health care as nurse providers from both rural and urban areas of our state move forward in shaping their contributions in our evolving system of Coordinated Care Organizations (CCO) and Patient Centered Primary Care Homes (PCPCH). NP leaders have been involved in face-to-face meetings with Oregon Health Authority leadership, as well as, with chief medical officers, chief nursing officers, and health care executives throughout our state as discussions continue regarding exploration of the most effective strategy for aligning our existing nurse practitioner workforce with the needs of our transformational health care delivery system. Nurse practitioners have historically been at the forefront of health care delivery in rural and underserved areas. We are seeing NP-operated clinics achieving PCPCH designation and nurse practitioners are being included in some CCOs. 

Expansion in the nurse practitioners' ability to serve patients with work-related injuries and conditions is expected, including proposed legislation would extend the treatment period to six months.  Nurse practitioners will continue to provide high level comprehensive health care services to all patient populations.

In addition, a movement toward payment parity for nurse practitioners is a part of the legislative effort to improve access for patients for both primary care and mental health services. Payment parity for these providers of care is supported by research and recommendations from many sources. There is still much work to be done and much to learn about this new team-based approach to care management. Nurse practitioners can provide a much needed contribution to this team while continuing to meet the complex care needs of the many Oregonians we are charged to serve.


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