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Care Coordination and the Essential Role of Nurses

With the transformation of the healthcare system well underway, care coordination is now being highlighted by hospitals, health systems, and insurers as a key tool in improving patient health and satisfaction and controlling healthcare costs. Nurses’ response is “what took you so long?!”

Registered nurses’ contributions to care coordination have long been a core professional standard and competency for RNs. It is what nurses do. It is what we have always done. Whether developing care plans guided by patients' needs and preferences, educating patients and their families at discharge, doing their best to facilitate continuity of care for patients across settings and among providers, RNs make coordinated care possible.

Acknowledge RN Contributions and Pay for Care Coordination: Leveraging the Spotlight
With this new interest in care coordination, it is up to RNs to step up and draw attention to the integral part they play in improving patient care quality, satisfaction, and the effective and efficient use of healthcare resources.  

The American Nurses Association is leading the way through a number of initiatives to bring attention to nurses’ essential role in care coordination and to demand payment for these essential services as a distinct component of patient care.

ANA advocacy on behalf of RNs’ essential role in care coordination

  • ANA and AAN meeting with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner (May 21, 2012) to discuss the importance of measuring and paying for care coordination.
  • Care coordination in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) – ANA letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in response to proposed regulations implementing the Affordable Care Act (May 31, 2011) and other  information on ACOs.

ANA as an active partner with national healthcare quality organizations to push for officially capturing, documenting, and measuring nurses’ role in providing care coordination:

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