KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama Thanks Nurses For Health Law Support, Nurse Practitioners Push Role

President Obama Wednesday thanked the American Nurses Association for supporting the health reform effort, The Associated Press reports. "Obama said nurses are the 'beating heart' of the health care system. … The Obama administration on Wednesday also announced new funding (Today's Daily Report includes  summaries of coverage related to this announcement.) to help educate and train full-time nurses" (Simmons, 6/17).

In the meantime, nurse practitioners are pushing their role in providing primary care to America's underserved, The Tennessean reports. Many more are breaking out of traditional roles to begin their own independent primary care practices. "With fewer years of schooling and less debt, they enter the work force at five times the rate of primary care medical residents. Nurse practitioners believe they could be part of the solution to the growing shortage of primary care doctors and ever-expanding health-care costs. But some question whether they have sufficient training to ensure that patients are safe." Doctors oversee the care of some nurse practitioners in some states around the country and an "estimated 135,000 nurse practitioners work in the United States today, an increase of more than 60 percent since 2005." The nurse practitioners have advanced training and a master's or doctorate in the practice (Sanchez, 6/17).

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