The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has led to an increase in nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses (APNs). Many states have passed laws permitting NPs to practice independently while offering primary care services similar to physicians.
However, physician groups strongly oppose these changes, asserting that allowing nurses to provide basic services without their doctor’s oversight could jeopardize patient health.
Increased Access to Care
The Affordable Care Act has greatly increased access to health care for low-income Americans. More specifically, it expanded Medicaid eligibility at the state level for individuals earning up to 138% of federal poverty level while premium subsidies became available to individuals earning 400% or more of federal poverty level for individual market policies sold through ACA exchanges.
Additionally, the Affordable Care Act’s provision to eliminate copayments and cost sharing for preventive services allows patients to receive screenings for cancer, heart disease, blood pressure, cholesterol and other illnesses without incurring out-of-pocket costs. Furthermore, private insurers must charge fair premiums that spend at least 80% of premium funds directly on medical care services.
Additionally, the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that health plans cover mental and substance use disorder services as comprehensively as they cover medical and surgical services has made these services more accessible to millions of Americans. Furthermore, insurance companies must return funds back to policyholders if their plans spend less than 80 percent of premium funds on healthcare expenses.
Better Patient Care
Autonomy in nursing enables nurse practitioners to tailor care more appropriately to each individual patient, which in turn increases patient satisfaction and decreases hospital stays.
According to researchers, this trend is beneficial both to patients and the healthcare system overall. Autonomous nurses have been found to provide superior patient care because they can focus on each person’s individual needs instead of trying to fit them into a doctor’s schedule.
But nurse practitioners may face difficulty becoming autonomous. For instance, Florida Board of Nursing mandates that they undergo 3,000 hours of practice under supervision before being granted autonomy to practice independently.
Increased Job Satisfaction
Increased autonomy within the nursing profession empowers nurse practitioners and physician assistants to take charge of their work, increasing job satisfaction. Field autonomy also enables nurses to make rapid decisions without waiting for approval from doctors or other health care providers, guaranteeing patients receive timely and appropriate treatments.
This can reduce healthcare costs, improve patient outcomes and enhance quality of care delivered. Furthermore, this may allow nurses to practice in facilities serving underserved populations allowing more people access to care.
Nurse leaders and administrators need to support this type of autonomy by offering organizational support, improving the work environment and cultivating an atmosphere which encourages communication and collaboration – factors which will enhance job satisfaction, retention and clinical practice. Furthermore, APPs appreciate having opportunities to use their professional skills – something which contributes significantly to job satisfaction and retention.
Reduced Health Care Costs
Health care expenses are an integral component of an employer’s budget and cutting these costs can enable more lucrative investments by the business. Furthermore, lower costs provide better healthcare outcomes for consumers as well.
The Affordable Care Act has had profound effects on how much people spend on health care. Through its coverage expansion, millions more individuals were able to secure affordable health insurance plans, while it has also made medications more cost-effective by decreasing prescription costs.
Though some aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were designed to address health care spending growth, they have not achieved that objective as expected by policymakers. Notably, its productivity adjustment provision cut Medicare payments to hospitals and other institutional providers by an index measuring economywide productivity increases.
Despite these costs, the Affordable Care Act has had an enormously positive effect on how health care is provided in America. By expanding access to affordable health insurance and making medications more cost-effective, the ACA has reduced medical debt risk while improving financial security for uninsured Americans.