'This mindset must change': 4 things industry leaders want to change in healthcare

From workplace violence to affordability, medical association leaders have their eyes on several issues in the healthcare field that need to be changed.

Here is what four of leaders say should be addressed more readily:

Theresa Davis, PhD, RN. President of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Workplace violence continues to escalate, and healthcare leaders must take action to protect the safety and well-being of all clinicians and staff. Nurses spend the most time with patients and their families and often bear the brunt of outbursts and attacks. The media cover the more serious events, but often the less visible ones do not get the attention they need, even internally. Nurses experience workplace violence almost daily — [they are] subject to behaviors such as being yelled at, spit at, called names and physical violence. Each incident, no matter the severity, takes a toll on the nurses' well-being. Reporting events is crucial on many fronts, including getting accurate data and providing the necessary support for nurses. Many nurses tell us that there is a stigma to reporting incidents and that they feel they cannot or should not report them. This mindset that violence is just "part of the job" must change.

Stephen Ferrara, DPN. President of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners: I believe system leaders should think more about how nurse practitioners are part of the solution to many of their challenges in healthcare today. One of the biggest challenges we face in health systems today is patients waiting longer to get care. Nurse practitioners provide high-quality and cost-effective care, and there's data to provide this. When states adopt full practice authority, there is an increased number of nurse practitioners licensed in that state and better retention rates for nurse practitioners who remain after graduation. About 82% of nurse practitioners are accepting Medicare patients and more than 80% accept Medicaid patients, making them one of the largest providers to these vulnerable individuals. We advocate for all states to be full practice authority and join the other 27 states that currently have it. 

Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, RN. President of the American Nurses Association: Healthcare evolves at a rapid pace to meet the complexity and demands of patient care. This calls for leaders to be agile in responding to new opportunities and challenges, while ensuring that we have a healthcare workforce that is supported and prepared for whatever comes their way. We consistently hear that the largest pain point for the nursing profession right now is staffing and retention. Leaders must continue to do everything within their power to create work and practice environments that prioritize both safe staffing standards and diversity and inclusion initiatives, provide continuous access to training and education, strengthen zero tolerance workplace violence policies, and offer on-demand mental health and well-being resources.

Rick Pollack. President and CEO of the American Hospital Association: The detrimental impact and affordability challenges that certain commercial health insurers' practices are having on patients and providers is something we all need to be talking more about. Specifically, some health plans — like high deductible health plans and so-called "skinny" plans — have increased patients' out-of-pocket costs to the point where some patients are avoiding necessary care or acquiring debt when they do.

Health insurance is intended to be the primary mechanism protecting patients from unexpected and unaffordable out-of-pocket healthcare costs. For too many, that coverage is either unavailable or falling far short. We must tackle the root of the affordability problem: ensuring all individuals are enrolled in comprehensive healthcare coverage with manageable cost-sharing obligations. Health insurance should be a bridge to medical care — not a barrier — and for too many Americans that is what it's become. 


Read more about what health system and hospital leaders think the healthcare industry needs to focus on here.

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