Category Archives: Health policy
Susan B. Hassmiller, senior adviser for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and director of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the venerable institution announced this morning. It is one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.
Hassmiller shapes and leads RWJF’s strategies to transform the nursing profession to improve health and health care. She joined RWJF in 1997. In 2009, she received the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international honor given to a nurse by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Read more about Hassmiller’s election to the IOM.
Among the IOM’s 80 new members are two other nurses: Beverly Louise Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, CEO, National League for Nursing, New York City; and Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN, associate vice president for health promotion, College of Nursing, Ohio State University, Columbus.
Established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the IOM is widely recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues.
Tammy Chang, MD, MPH, MS, is an assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program.
Over kitchen tables as well as on Capitol Hill, the discussion continues over the Affordable Care Act including who will benefit and what it means for everyday Americans.
To shed light on this debate, my co-author Matthew Davis, MD, MAPP, and I recently published a study that describes the characteristics of Americans potentially eligible for the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine, uses a national source of data used by many other researchers who look at national trends—such as high blood pressure and obesity—called the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Alexia Green, RN, PhD, FAAN, professor and dean emeritus, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and co-leader of the Texas Action Coalition. She is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program.
As a nurse, I have long desired to be a full partner with physicians and other health care leaders in improving health care delivery in our country. The truth is many nurses have this desire, but all too often we are not viewed as key players in the larger policy arena. When the Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing report was issued in 2010, I was very excited to see a major emphasis placed on nurses become full partners in redesigning health care in the United States.
I personally became intrigued with impacting health care policy while a graduate student at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston—where my professor, Dorothy Otto, encouraged me to become engaged, providing me with a vision that policy was something I could shape and develop rather than passively watch. My engagement with the Texas Nurses Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program helped solidify my leadership skills to be well prepared to actively serve on boards where policy decisions are made in hopes of improving health systems to advance patient care.
Susan Reinhard, PhD, RN, FAAN, is senior vice president of the AARP Public Policy Institute and chief strategist at the Center to Champion Nursing in America, which coordinates the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. Here, Reinhard reflects on the impact of the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report during its third anniversary week.
The Center to Champion Nursing in America was founded six years ago as an initiative of AARP, the AARP Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Ever since, we have devoted considerable energies and resources to transforming the nursing profession to better serve consumers.
Why is AARP so invested in this work? One simple reason: Nurses, the largest segment of the health care workforce, provide critical care to our members, many of whom are aging and managing multiple chronic health conditions. Our work is not as much about improving conditions for nurses as it is about making life better for consumers and their families. A larger, more highly skilled nursing workforce will improve access to higher-quality, more patient-centered, and more affordable care. That is especially important now, with demand for nursing care growing as the population ages and as millions more people enter the health care system under the Affordable Care Act.
That is why we, at AARP, have made it our mission to ensure that all people have access to a highly skilled nurse when and where they need one.
Italo M. Brown, MPH, is a rising third-year medical student at Meharry Medical College. He holds a BS from Morehouse College, and an MPH in epidemiology and social & behavioral sciences from Boston University, School of Public Health. He is a Health Policy Scholar at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College. Read all the blog posts in this series.
In 1986, Congress took a step in the direction of patient advocacy by passing the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). One part of this act, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), has served as the precedent for federally mandated care and has largely shaped our understanding of urgent care delivery in America. While some have touted EMTALA as a public health victory, many have scrutinized the federal mandate, citing its imperfection and labeling it as a strong contributor to the current ailments of our emergency medical system.
However, 27 years after EMTALA became law, a greater emphasis is placed on preventive measures and comprehensive care, rather than urgent care, as a means to reduce negative health outcomes. Naturally, champions of cost-efficient comprehensive care have suggested that a federal mandate should be explored.
Clyde Evans, PhD, is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health Policy Fellows program and president of CE Consulting in Needham, Massachusetts.
In 1995 I was getting “media training” with another colleague, consisting mostly of being interviewed on camera and then critiquing the tape. At one point the consultant stopped the taping of my colleague (a medical school dean) and said “we know you’re smart; we want to know what you’re passionate about.” Though I wasn’t asked at the time, I realized I couldn’t say (or didn’t know) what I was passionate about. I figured I’d better find out.
"It is not important what your particular mission is. It’s only important that you have one."
In pretty short order I came up with this: “I want to help ensure that every man, woman and child in the U.S. has a chance to live a healthy life.” That “personal mission statement” subsequently led me to the RWJF Health Policy Fellows program and guided me as a fellow, becoming a kind of “litmus test” for me: “How does (or could) X help to give people a shot at a healthy life?” If I could see that connection, I could care about whatever X was. While this dynamic was admittedly personal and idiosyncratic, it still helped me navigate several key decisions during my fellowship year.
This is part of a series introducing programs in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Human Capital Portfolio.
The RWJF Health Policy Fellows program will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year. The program supports exceptional midcareer health professionals and behavioral and social scientists to actively participate in health policy processes at the federal level and gain exclusive, hands-on policy experience. Heralded as the “nation’s most prestigious fellowship at the nexus of health science, policy, and politics,” the Health Policy Fellows program provides health professionals the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill and in the Executive Branch, gaining front-line experience in federal health policy-making and an insider’s perspective on our country’s political process.
Founded in 1973, the program is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and sponsored by the Institute of Medicine within the National Academies of Science.
Health Policy Fellows have become some of the nation’s most influential leaders in the health care field. As professors, deans, and presidents at major academic institutions, directors of voluntary health organizations and health professional societies, leaders in state and federal government, and experts at think tank and advocacy organizations, the Fellows are transforming the nation’s health care policy and practice.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Center for Health Policy at Meharry Medical College will graduate six scholars with certificates in health policy during Meharry Medical College’s 138th Commencement Exercise this weekend. Having completed the Center’s health policy education program, the scholars are poised to join the nation's leading health policy experts, researchers, and analysts. They will focus on caring for minority and underserved communities in their careers.
The graduating scholars are:
- Kevin Blythe, MSPH, School of Medicine
- Lamercie Saint Hilaire, School of Medicine
- Ashley Huderson, School of Graduate Studies and Research
- Brandon Morgan, School of Dentistry
- Rebbie S. Timmons, School of Graduate Studies and Research
- Nadia Winston, School of Graduate Studies and Research
Margaret Wainwright Henbest, RN, MSN, CPNP, is executive director of the Idaho Alliance of Leaders in Nursing and co-lead of the Idaho Nursing Action Coalition. She served in the Idaho state Legislature from 1996-2008.
I stumbled into politics in the midst of my nursing career. After serving as a nurse practitioner (NP) for two years in California and Oregon, I moved to Idaho in 1986. But it wasn’t until after the move that I discovered that I could not practice in my new home state unless a physician recommended me to the Idaho Board of Medicine (IBM) for licensure. That was not the only barrier to practice: To get my license, I had to interview with the IBM and win its approval.
I took a faculty position instead. But I soon met NPs all across the state who were seeking a change to this restrictive licensing requirement. I somehow wound up as the spokesperson for our eventual legislative effort, which was defeated after its first Senate hearing in the early 1990s.
That experience taught me that if something needs to be done, if a law needs to be changed, no one is going to do it for you; you have to do it yourself. Since I had a part-time job, I had the time to get active in local nursing organizations, and one thing led to another. I was approached to run for office and, after deliberating with family and friends, decided to make the leap. I won by seven votes in 1996. Every vote counts!
When I arrived at the state Capitol, I found that my perspective as a nurse was extremely valuable, especially during health care debates. I recognized prior to running that nurses were educationally and intellectually prepared for public office, and that we had little if any self-serving agenda in health care reform debates. We had a legitimate altruistic interest in patient and community health. This was readily apparent to policy-makers and the public.
Facing What May Be the Affordable Care Act’s Ultimate Challenge: The Gap Separating Evidence from the Policy-Makers Who Need It
David Grande, MD, MPA, is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, associate director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars program and an alumnus of the RWJF Health & Society Scholars program. This is part of a series of essays, reprinted from the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics’ eMagazine, in which scholars who attended the recent AcademyHealth National Health Policy Conference reflect on the experience.
It’s a time of unprecedented upheaval in U.S. health care. Big changes are bursting through on virtually every front. Legislators and administrators in Washington and 50 state capitals struggle daily to reinvent their health care systems even as they lack an exact blueprint for the new things they’re supposed to be building.
This was nowhere more evident than at the recent AcademyHealth National Health Policy Conference, where state and federal officials and interest groups lined up to present long lists of policy questions that confront them as they grapple with implementation of the Affordable Care Act and mounting public budgetary pressures.
For instance, in the “Opportunities & Challenges for State Officials” session, New Mexico’s Medicaid Director Julie Weinberg described the unknowns surrounding how “churn” between private and public coverage will change and how new Medicaid eligibility standards will impact enrollment processes.