Affordable Care Act Offers New Opportunities
“Obamacare” is perhaps the most pressing issue on the minds of nurses in the United States this year. January 2013 marks the implementation of several aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The item that may have the most direct impact on nurses is preventive care coverage with new Medicaid funding for states that offer preventive care services. Some commentators on Obamacare claim that legislation will hit doctors hard, but will actually be a boon for nurses. They claim that nurses will be the ones to step in and fill the gap as a doctor shortage surges across the nation with many physicians leaving private practice. In terms of preventive care, nurses are indeed likely to be called upon to provide a larger percentage of services to patients.
Many of the types of counseling and screening that are considered preventive in nature are already being done by nurses in a variety of healthcare settings. These include:
- Basic nutritional counseling
- Stress reduction
- Exercise planning
- Smoking cessation advice
- Health screenings
Nurse practitioners and public health nurses are the obvious groups most likely to see an uptick in demand as a result. However, RNs in general may also experience a trickle-down effect as states hungry for federal funding seek to meet program requirements.