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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 23, 2009 at 4:30 PM

Health-care overhaul

Nurse-developed care models valuable

Although the AP story “Medicare to play big role in health care overhaul” [seattletimes.com, Politics & Government, April 21] states that “Medicare should become the test lab for making the entire health-care system less wasteful,” it fails to mention round-table participant Mary Naylor’s team-based care model that could very well help transform the American health-care system for the better.

Naylor, a registered nurse and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, created a program that is specifically geared toward improving post-discharge outcomes and lowering rates of re-hospitalization via a transitional care team led by an advanced practice nurse (APN).

A four-year trial (funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research) with a group of elderly patients hospitalized for heart failure found that the APN care model cut hospitalization costs by more than $500,000; this was compared with a group receiving standard care, producing an average savings of approximately $5,000 per Medicare patient.

Clearly, Naylor and her team have solutions that could reduce rehospitalizations, thus leaving patients healthier, while simultaneously saving our health-care system billions of dollars. America needs to start recognizing and adopting nurse-developed models of care; we will be a healthier nation because of it.

— Patricia Ford-Roegner, CEO, American Academy of Nursing, Washington, D.C.

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