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Broadening the Scope of Nursing Practice

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The Affordable Care Act promises to add 32 million Americans to the rolls of the insured at a time when there is a shortage of primary care providers. There is broad consensus that the next phase of reform must slow the growth of health care costs and improve value through payment reforms, including bundling of payments and payments for episodes of care. Some savings will derive from implementation of innovative models of care, such as accountable care organizations, medical homes, transitional care, and community-based care. We believe that if we are to bridge the gap in primary care and establish new approaches to care delivery, all health care providers must be permitted to practice to the fullest extent of their knowledge and competence. This will require establishing a standardized and broadened scope of practice for advanced-practice registered nurses — in particular, nurse practitioners — for all states.

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