Nurse Practitioners Improving Access for Children's to Quality Care

Fly In Day for NAPNAP

After a two day session in DC meeting with members of congress regarding healthcare, you can rest assured that NAPNAP and its leaders are focused on important issues pertaining to the health of children. Karen Kelly Thomas, Jean Martin and Michelle Beauchesne are some of the leaders that participated in this event. Hearing their perspectives about important issues such as nurse education funding through Title VIII and Medical Home provided insights into solutions for some of today’s healthcare issues. Ann Sheehan, Karen Duderstadt and Andrea Kline work hard all year long to educate and support the members of NAPNAP in the area of advocacy.

After talking with Marcia Knutson from Representative Jim Moran’s office and Aryana Khalid representing Senator Mark Warner, I am confident that in Virginia, the members of Congress understand and support funding for the education of nurses. There was a solid understanding of the issues and strong support from the Virginia congressional leadership. Representative Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania has worked hard for healthcare and the integration of nurse practitioners. She was presented with an award by NAPNAP for her work to get the language of the healthcare bill to include nurse practitioners along with physicians as providers of healthcare.

On the topic of obesity, NAPNAP’s HEAT program (Healthy Eating and Activity Together) received strong support among congressional offices and leaders. The HEAT program is complimented by the recently announced plan of First Lady Michelle Obama, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin to help Americans lead healthier lives through better nutrition, regular physical activity and educating communities to support healthy choices.

There was also a positive response for the role of nurse practitioners in Medical Homes. According to Massachusetts General Hospital for Children:

“Medical homes are clinical practices committed to organizing and coordinating care based on child and family needs and priorities. Building on the accepted attributes of primary care, effective medical homes provide care that is accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family- centered, co-ordinated, compassionate and culturally effective.”

In addition to providing comprehensive and technically expert clinical care, the medical home also provides:
• care planning
• care coordination
• population or “panel” management
• physical and operational modifications to address physical and cultural needs
• continuous quality improvement

Many models of the medical home, particularly for children with special health care needs, include parents and youth in the process of improving care.

As a strong believer in nurse practitioners, I am excited to see the awareness of the role of the nurse practitioner increase as a part of the healthcare solution. As physicians, hospitals, and policies continue to embrace the role of nurse practitioners, the access of children to quality healthcare will improve. A recent USA Today news article said that nurse practitioners are "gaining traction because people are seeing how cost-effective they are," according to Rebecca Patton, president of the American Nurses Association. "The primary care physician shortage is going to drive it." Nurse practitioners are collaborators with physicians in the ongoing quest to provide quality healthcare for all. If you would like more information on the role of nurse practitioners in pediatric care please visit

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Jill Gilliland

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