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Reporting about nursing: our media fellow reflects on challenges, opportunities

By Liz Seegert

July 6, 2017

In many ways, the state of Kentucky is a microcosm of the challenges in today’s health care system. Tens of thousands of people, many in rural areas, now receive regular health care thanks to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. But delivering that care poses its own dilemmas.

 

You may recall reading CHMP Media Fellow Melissa Patrick’s three-part series earlier this year. Patrick looked into how nurses are meeting the increasing demand for primary care in the community and in schools, at the same time the state faces a serious shortage of qualified RNs.

 

She recently spoke with Media Fellows program director and HealthCetera co-producer Liz Seegert about her reporting, lessons learned, and why full scope of practice matters.

 

Liz Seegert
Liz Seegert is a health care journalist and directs the media fellows program at the Center. She serves as topic editor on aging for the Association of Healthcare Journalists, writes for a variety of print and online publications and coproduces HealthCetera Radio on WBAI-FM. She tweets @lseegert. 

Nurses raise their voices: “Do No Harm”

By Editorial Staff

June 28, 2017

 

 

This post is written by George Washington University faculty member Joyce Pulcini, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, FAAN, with contributions by Kari Deakins and Jennifer Kanelos, George Washington University School of Nursing students who attended the action. Dr. Joyce is a member of the National Advisory Council at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement.

 

 

On a hot Washington Thursday, June 22, a group of health care professionals and students in white coats descended on Capitol Hill to protest the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA)

 

This new Act would replace the current Affordable Care Act. President Trump was quoted as saying that the House-passed health care reform bill as being a “mean” health insurance bill. The AHCA would leave almost 24 million uninsured. Nurses, physicians and other [health] professionals stood tall at this press conference.  House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Raul Ruiz, a physician from California and Congressman Steny Hoyer from Maryland [were] in attendance.

 

The vehemence with which this group expressed their displeasure with the bill was refreshing.  We heard physician after physician speak of the horrors and dangers of having no insurance, the consequences of which we all have seen in many patients who deserve better.  Possible victims include: elderly patients in nursing homes, whose costs represent 42% of the Medicaid dollar (nursing home residents account for about 6% of Medicaid enrollees); women seeking gynecological care; pregnant women whose pregnancy may now be defined as a preexisting condition; children on Medicaid, which covers 40% of all children; and disabled individuals living in facilities covered by Medicaid.  All will be vulnerable. 

 

The [health care] group continued to voice the mantra, “Do no harm” and speakers addressed the harms of this proposed bill would have if passed. Passage of this bill would devastate a population that finally received health insurance through the ACA, after many years of poor or delayed care. Today’s American population is aging.  The proposed legislation would turn the clock back for the elderly, women and children toward failed “uncompensated care” pools.  We spoke of people with conditions that are preventable or curable if picked up under current routine preventive care (“essential health benefits”), which could disappear under the new law by 2019. 

 

GWSON students who attended the briefing share their reactions about attending:

 

Kari Deakins:

As a student it was very inspiring to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with providers of the interdisciplinary team to share our disagreement with the new AHCA. Our patients will be from many socioeconomic backgrounds in the future, and we must ensure that vulnerable populations are protected. The newly proposed AHCA risks the loss of health care benefits to millions of Americans, the possible denial of future benefits to millions more. It was motivating to listen to our future colleagues and physicians tell countless stories about their patients who would be affected by this damaging legislation. We must be vigilant and active as students to protect our patients and those that who need our help, and as we move into our practice and nursing careers, we must remain proactive in the advocacy of our patients.”  

 

Jennifer Kanelos:

“Participating in the white coat press conference was one of the most inspiring and memorable days I’ve had at GW to date. Gathering on Capitol Hill with nurses, physicians and med students united in the belief that all Americans deserve access to affordable health coverage, left an impact on me that will last a lifetime. From day one, we learn at GW SON to provide patient centered care focused on evidence based research. The facts are unequivocal, denying millions of people health coverage like the AHCA would do, will have devastating results on our ability to provide care for those that need it most.

I am halfway into my nursing education, and something in me has changed for the better. My experience at GW and with patients in the clinical rotations, have given me a new outlook on the world. I see people and our country differently now, and standing among so many providers with the Capitol and Washington Monument behind us, I truly felt like I belonged to something bigger than myself. Energized by the passion and commitment of the speakers and elected officials, I became a healthcare advocate that day. I look forward to a lifetime of speaking out on behalf of my patients, working towards a more perfect union, and maybe even one day asking for your vote”.

We were all there to prevent the devastating effects of the AHCA. We cannot afford to harm the American people with this bill, which would dismantle care that had finally become a reality for so many. As health care professionals we must DO NO HARM!

 

 

Update: On Tuesday, June 27, Senate Republican leaders bowed to pressure from within their own ranks and postponed a vote to overhaul the Affordable Care Act until after the Fourth of July recess. 

 

This post is written by Joyce Pulcini, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, FAAN, with contributions by George Washington University School of Nursing students Kari Deakins and Jennifer Kanelos who attended the action with her.

Editorial Staff

Carole R. Myers, PhD launches #NPR @WUOT TN health policy news segment “Health Connections”

By Carole R. Myers

June 21, 2017

Senior Fellow Carole R. Myers PhD brings her health policy expertise to the airwaves twice a month to NPR’s Morning News on 91.9 FM WUOT in Knoxville, TN. Here’s the program write up from WUOT’s website where you can listen to her the segment:

 

 

This week marks the launch of a new series, HealthConnections. The brainchild of University of Tennessee associate professor Dr. Carole Myers, HealthConnections will bring the often-abstract world of health care, coverage and policy to a human level. What is access? How do marketplaces work? What’s the future of health insurance?

Dr. Myers and WUOT’s Brandon Hollingsworth will sort through these issues and more, all to give you a toolbox for understanding what you hear on the news, or to separate fact from fiction in the health care debate.

In the premiere episode, Dr. Myers and Hollingsworth introduce the series and get up to speed on the American Health Care Act, the GOP’s possible replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

What’s on your mind? On Twitter, send your questions to @wuotfm, or send an email to newsroom [at] wuot.org and use “HealthConnections” as your subject line.

Congratulations Carole! The entire team at the Center applaud you on this new platform where you will report on health policy.

Carole R. Myers