The challenges facing incoming 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 nurse leaders how they would advise the new president to improve the U.S. healthcare system.
What is one of the first issues related to healthcare the Obama administration should focus on in 2009 and why?Lisa O’Connor, RN
“Universal healthcare reform to ensure access to affordable, quality care is essential. As chief nurse executive at the largest safety net provider in Massachusetts, I have firsthand experience with our states reform process and must underscore the importance of considering the true costs in providing these benefits in particular to underserved individuals. The cost for interpreters, social workers, and other essential support services deserve more attention in the reform planning dialogue.”
Lisa OConnor, RN, BSN, MS, NEAA, BC
Vice president of nursing
Boston Medical Center, Boston
Patricia Reid Ponte, RN
“I am confident the Obama administration will focus on the healthcare crisis. They should convene an interdisciplinary team of healthcare leaders, consumers, and policymakers. Assuring health insurance for all and capital for healthcare organizations to implement electronic medical records and provider order entry systems are also paramount.”
Patricia Reid Ponte, RN, DNSc, FAAN, NEA-BC
Senior VP for patient care
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston
Director of oncology nursing
Brigham and Womens Hospital, Boston
Sandra Roosa, RN
“Dealing with our uninsured population needs to be a priority. But Obama needs to remember that fair and appropriate reimbursement for healthcare service providers is an important part of that equation. Adding more people to the ranks of the insured will backfire unless providers are able to effectively deal with the increased demand.”
Sandra Roosa, RN, CNAA
Vice president for patient care services
Saint Marys Hospital, Waterbury, Conn.
Sue Fitzsimons, RN
“We would ask to develop a system that guarantees access to healthcare for all Americans, of every age. Funding should cover what works, and we should de-fund what isnt delivering. We would also advocate for reform that addresses other aspects of our social infrastructure, like housing and education, that will make investments in prevention and screening initiatives more successful and sustainable.”
Sue Fitzsimons, RN, PhD
Senior vice president of patient services
Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Conn.