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?Marta Tullock, RN
It is anticipated the demand for nursing will increase as a result of the aging nursing workforce. … The Obama administration should also promote efforts to increase nursing programs within the hospital setting. This would benefit the underprivileged and provide a family-centered care approach and strengthen the family foundation.
Marta Tullock, RN, Senior Associate Director, Nursing
Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation
The Obama administration should focus on the cost of healthcare and Americans who don’t have health insurance. Those without health insurance are less likely to receive preventive care and are more likely to be diagnosed with diseases in advanced stages. Increased absenteeism related to avoidable health problems decreases productivity. Measures must be implemented to provide Americans with quality healthcare for less. Lower costs would increase preventive healthcare and reduce or even eliminate avoidable health problems.
Ionie Skyers-Gilchrist, RN, staff nurse
Lutheran Medical Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
One of the first issues is good, affordable health coverage for everyone. I have had to discharge patients from home care prematurely due to lack of health coverage. Good health coverage reduces rehospitalization and the cost of healthcare premiums.
Sophia Gouldbourne O’Neil, RN, Coordinator of Care
Metropolitan Jewish Home Care, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Making health insurance affordable to everyone, no questions asked. Obama must require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, so everyone living in the U.S. can receive comprehensive benefits at fair and firmly established premiums.
Plechette Dey-Foy, RN, BSN, Cardiothoracic Unit, ICU
North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.
Patients with diabetes often are labeled noncompliant. The truth is that many cannot afford all of their diabetes medications and supplies and begin to cut corners. Better care for people living with diabetes and other chronic illnesses should be a priority.
Jane Jeffrie Seley, GNP, MPH, CDE Diabetes Nurse Practitioner
New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York
Change has been the dynamic word used consistently on the campaign trail. The administration should listen to nursing lobbyists who advocate for preventive, accessible, and affordable healthcare programs. We must create advanced technological methods for all age groups.
Honore Burtt, RN, BC, Senior Nurse Clinician
NYU Hospitals Center, New York
Registered nurses support universal comprehensive healthcare for all. The system also must ensure consumers have the option to seek care from any qualified healthcare professional. These elements constitute basic healthcare services and should not be considered luxuries, available only to those who can afford them.
Doreen Germino, RNC, BA, Assistant Nursing Care Coordinator, St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, N.Y.Patrick Luib, GNP
One of the first areas in healthcare that must be addressed by the Obama administration is for Congress to match state Medicaid programs to preserve and expand home and community-based care.
Patrick Luib, GNP, BC, Geriatric Clinical Services Manager
Visiting Nurse Service of New York, N.Y.