The challenges facing President Barack Obama and Congress are tremendous, but Americans are making it clear they want healthcare to be a high priority on the national agenda. In a national survey released Jan. 15 by Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, 43% of respondents said they view reforming healthcare as a top concern, ranking it third behind improving the economy at 73% and fighting terrorism at 48%. We asked area nurses how they would advise the new president to improve the U.S. healthcare system.
Question: What healthcare issue do you think the Obama administration should address first in 2009?Marie Ankner, RN
The nursing workforce and infrastructure are critical to the delivery of quality, safe healthcare in the U.S. The nursing profession offers a vital professional career opportunity to our youth. Money to support RN education at the baccalaureate level will provide educated practitioners who will be able to provide safe, quality care. Funding to support advanced education will ensure there are faculty and RNs prepared to provide education, research, and leadership within the healthcare system.
Marie Ankner, RN, MS, CNAA-bc, Assistant VP, Nursing Services
Division of Medical and Professional Affairs
New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation
Making health insurance work is a priority. More immediately, I would like to see the Obama administration protect hospitals from effects of the economic downturn. Obama also has committed to facilitating electronic medical records, and I agree this also is a critical need because of its many patient safety implications.
Rosanne Raso, RN, MS, CNAA, Senior VP, Nursing Services
Lutheran Medical Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
His administration should push for the community-based model that provides cost-effective, continuous coordination of care. Electronic health records also are a top priority. As Obama said in January, EHR will reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests, save billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, and reduce medical errors.
Susan Cummins Caputo, RN, BSN, MPA, President, Home Care
Metropolitan Jewish Health System, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Change has come to Washington. Change was overdue. The past is gone and life goes on. Time for hope to be renewed. Look for change throughout our land and far across the sea. Rebuilding trust, Obama must reclaim our legacy for eternity.
Katie Capitulo, RN, DNSc, FAAN, VP, Nursing Institute
North Shore — LIJ Health System, Manhasset, N.Y.
Improving healthcare access and improving overall health should be the new administration’s priorities. But we need better nutrition programs, smoking cessation programs, and childhood education to raise healthier Americans.
Wilhelmina Manzano, RN, MA. MEA-BC, Senior VP/Chief Nursing Officer
New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York Susan Bowar-Ferres, RN
Schools cannot accept more students due to faculty shortages, and faculty positions require higher education. The administration should increase faculty scholarships/stipends on the federal level, develop scholarship/stipend support for BSN education, and increase partnerships of BSN-AD programs.
Susan Bowar-Ferres, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, Senior VP/Chief Nursing Officer
NYU Hospitals Center, New York, N.Y.
One of the first issues is access to healthcare for all. The Healthy People 2010 report notes this is one of the most important National Health Objectives. Inadequate and fragmented insurance plans must be replaced with a comprehensive standard benefit package accessible to all.
Miriam Carasa, RN, EdD, CNA, Chief Nursing Officer
St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, New York
The Economic Stimulus Package, which includes critical financial support to states like New York to continue funding of essential Medicaid benefits, should be a priority. New York has been particularly hard hit by the economic crisis, placing significant pressure on the states ability to fund vital services in the face of declining revenues and increasing demand. Federal support is crucial to stabilizing the states healthcare system.
Joan Marren, RN, MA, MEd, Chief Operating Officer
Visiting Nurse Service of New York, N.Y.