Nurse-managed health centers: Safety-net care through advanced nursing practice


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Abstract

Purpose:To describe the nurse-managed health center (NMHC) as a model for effective health delivery in providing safety-net care to medically underserved populations.Data sources:Although the literature regarding outcomes of the model is still building, mounting evidence shows that NMHCs provide quality and cost-effective care to their target populations. The Division of Nursing of the Health Resources and Services Administration has ample data to support the findings that NMHCs are a significant component of the primary healthcare system in providing access particularly for medically underserved and vulnerable populations. Furthermore, NMHCs are a powerful source of clinical experiences to train nurses and nurse practitioners as part of the healthcare workforce.Conclusions:The financial challenges facing NMHCs are significant; it will take an enormous push from organized fronts of the NMHC movement to give individual NMHCs a fighting chance to survive within the competitive healthcare climate.Implications for practice:Policy changes are essential to assure that NMHCs are an integral part of the primary healthcare safety net for America's vulnerable populations, and that advance practice nurses are at the forefront of policy initiatives.

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