Over the years, the health care system in the United States has had to contend with innumerable obstacles. Some of the principal concerns related to the system have revolved around the accessibility, affordability, and quality of health care. A significant proportion of the working individuals in the country is either under-insured or uninsured. However, the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 marked an essential milestone in transforming the health care system. The provisions of the Act, which are already under implementation, have demystified the relationship between the delivery of quality care and nursing practice (Finkelman, 2012). Thus, nurse leaders play an integral role in the implementation of the provision of the ACA to make sure that all Americans that seek health care can access affordable and quality care.
The offering of primary care is at the core of the revolutionary health care reform, which makes it easy to prevent disease. Additionally, nurses have a critical role in the delivery of care to all patients regardless of their insurance status (CCN, 2016). Nursing leaders should guide other nursing practitioners to give the right cost-effective care when uninsured or under-insured patients present themselves for care. They use their clinical, administrative, operational, and financial skills to handle the critical problems within the community health care facilities. These leaders recognize the importance of patient safety; hence, they use evidence-based nursing responses to achieve health equity (Huber, 2014). Moreover, they inspire confidence among other nursing professionals to promote competence and commitment, which leads to high performance and improved patient outcomes. They serve as sources of information on health insurance coverage that the ACA provides (Finkelman, 2012). Some of these patients are eligible for health insurance, but due to lack of information, they continue to suffer. After providing the required treatment, nurse leaders take the responsibility of empowering the patients and signing them up for health insurance.
Nurse leaders also advocate policies that strengthen the delivery of health care. As chief nursing officers, who serve in health policy committees, they direct the policies making sure that the uninsured and underinsured access proper care (Finkelman, 2012). Most of the US hospitals have developed health care policies that rid practice barriers while enhancing the medical services. With over 47 million Americans lacking insurance, hospital settings have begun the initiatives to increase the health care safety net that would cover the medical costs for the underprivileged (Huber, 2014). The hospital financial assistance policy has enabled health care facilities to deliver preventive care to all the patients who are unable to pay for the emergency services. The set rules work in the congruency with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). The emergency departments in hospitals use the policy as a framework for providing quality and affordable health care services to all patients without any form of discrimination (Zun, Chepenik, & Mallory, 2013). As a result, patients readily seek medical services whenever the need arises, having no fear of ridicule, victimization, or denial of medical treatment. These forms of Financial Assistance Programs are available in the majority of the hospitals, including hospices to meet the medical needs of the diverse American population at discounted prices.
The Affordable Care Act has led to the considerable improvements in the health care system. Under the leadership of nurse leaders, practitioners in the field have had the opportunity to explore the full potential of their practice. As a result, the integration of evidence-based programs, technology, and other nurse-led approaches in medical care has expanded the scope of nursing.
In conclusion, the hospital financial assistance policy has enabled the patients ineligible for the government programs due to their insurance status, in particular the uninsured and the underinsured ones, to access affordable and high-quality health care.
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