There have been numerous reforms in the United States healthcare delivery systems. These reforms aim at improving the quality, accessibility and affordability of healthcare services to patients as well as ensuring maximum utilization of health care resources (Kibbe & Carver, 2000). For example, reforms to cut down costs by stabilizing remunerations for healthcare services providers. The reforms have led to drastic growth, development and increased complexity of the health care industry. In this regard, roles of healthcare providers such as physicians and nurses are also expected to change, transform and revolutionize. According to Health Affairs (2010) and Stahl (2011), these reforms focus more on patients, and are geared towards improving healthcare services to both individuals and communities, for example, by providing reliable information to facilitate decision-making processes by patients, increasing networks of healthcare providers and inclusion of families in healthcare issues. Kibbe and Carver (2000) also affirm that restructuring of healthcare delivery systems and organizations has led to new developments, hence increased need for health care providers, especially nurses, to adapt to the changes.
Roles played by nurses in the restructuring of the United States healthcare delivery system are expected to change and shift as the healthcare industry transforms. More nursing jobs are expected to emerge in the community as jobs in acute care hospitals decline. New models for healthcare delivery systems are also expected to surface to ensure continuum of healthcare services. These models will incorporate and encourage the application of holistic, comprehensive objectives and sophisticated technologies for efficient management of health care services (Floersch, 2002). Similarly, advanced information technologies and clinical technologies shall be applied to ensure that high quality and efficient health care services are provided. Moreover, the community shall be integrated health care delivery systems. Hospitals are expected to become less institutionalized. With this regard, nurses are expected to help patients as well as their families, communities and the society as a whole.
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are expected to facilitate reduction of cost of providing health care services. These organizations will also ensure maximum utilization of healthcare resources and facilities in the country. Bard and Nugent (2011) and Pavarini, McGinty and Schaff (2012) define ACO as a network of physicians and healthcare professionals who work together to improve the quality of health care services and cost of providing such services to the people. Additionally, introduction of medical homes in the healthcare service delivery systems has resulted into increased concern for improving the accessibility of quality health care services at lower costs for more Americans.
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The Affordable Care Act Nurse-Managed Health Clinics (ACA NMHC) has also been striving to provide funds to Nurse-Managed Health Clinics. The funds are used for development and growth of more Nurse-Managed Health Clinics. According to Scully, Hackbarth and Rideout (2008), Nurse-Managed Health Clinics are responsible for improving accessibility of primary healthcare services, providing health care services to disadvantaged or vulnerable populations, provide clinical trainings for nursing students and development of clinical technologies required for effective health information management systems. Through Nurse-Managed Health Clinics, nurses are expected to promote good health through disease prevention, provide basic care for both acute and chronic illnesses, offer guidance and counseling services to patients and their families, refer patients to more advanced healthcare providers and other community health resources whenever need arises as well as to provide midwifery services to women.
To conclude, I would urge you nurses to swiftly adapt to these changes and be prepared to take up new roles as the healthcare industry grows.
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