The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on the Preparation of Health Care Professionals
Chally, Pamela Sue
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Session presented on Saturday, September 27, 2014: Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to explore the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the preparation of healthcare professionals, particularly nurses. The law primarily impacts those having insurance and how health care is paid. As it is implemented, however, there are additional needs for professionals with specialized education. Methods: The implementation of the ACA has not gone smoothly. In fact, it seems every week something changes, with some changes being more significant than others. This presentation will include up to date information on the current situation regarding implementation of the ACA and its specific impact on nurses and other health care professionals. Literature has been searched and will continue to be analyzed regarding this topic. Additionally, interviews with health care leaders in the state and nation will continue to be sure material presented is timely. Results: The Affordable Care Act projects to expand health coverage for significantly over 30 million people. As a result, an already strained system must expand to meet a vast influx of new patients. It only makes sense that with more people receiving health care, additional health professionals in all areas will be needed. There will be greatest need for more nurses, physicians (especially primary care), nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and health educators. As educators, we are already behind in preparing for the upcoming projections. We have been concerned for many years about the anticipated number of nurses retiring as the health care needs of the baby boomers increase. Physicians are less likely to choose primary care practice. In some states, nurse practitioners are unable to practice to the full extent of their education. It is also critical that the economics of health care be integrated in all programs and graduates understand health promotion and education. Conclusion: It is imperative that we increase the number of high quality graduates to meet upcoming health care needs. All graduates will need additional skill sets that include coaching to promote health education and the ability to analyze outcomes and adjust activities accordingly to improve quality.