Nurse-Managed Health Clinics Provided Badly Needed Primary Care - But Without Funding, They and their Patients are at Risk
Jan 27, 2012, 1:00 PM, Posted by Tine Hansen-Turton
By Tine Hansen-Turton, MGA, JD, FCPP, FAAN, Chief Executive Officer, National Nursing Centers Consortium and Chief Strategy Officer at Public Health Management Corporation
Increased federal and state funding for nurse-managed health clinics (NMHC) would have positive implications for thousands of underserved patients around the nation. As Chief Executive Officer of the National Nursing Centers Consortium (NNCC), a non-profit member association representing more than 200 nurse-managed clinics throughout the country, I have spent close to 15 years advocating for the increased use of nurse practitioners and NMHCs in primary care. Our mission at the NNCC is to advance nurse-led health care through policy, consultation, programs and applied research to reduce health disparities and meet people’s primary care and wellness needs. Although I am not a nurse, I am passionate about NNCC’s mission because I have seen firsthand the life-changing impact NMHCs and nurse-practitioners can have on their patients.
When people ask me why NMHCs are so important, I often tell them the story of a woman with chronic back pain who came to the Public Health Management Corporation Rising Sun Health Center, a large NMHC network in Philadelphia. By the time she came to Rising Sun, the woman had received medication and treatment from health professionals in other settings, but her back pain had not improved. After conducting a thorough interview, the patient’s nurse practitioner found the source of the problem. The woman, who was caring for a large family, had been sleeping in a bathtub so her children could sleep on mattresses. After helping the woman develop better sleeping arrangements, the nurse practitioner referred her to social services. She was able to move to a larger rental unit in public housing, and her health problem improved.