Nurse Practitioner’s Growing Role in LTC
Nurse practitioner’s growing role in LTC is primarily based on the higher patient acuity we are seeing that requires a greater clinical presence. NP’s are capable of meeting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services goals of improving quality of care, patient satisfaction and cost of care. In the LTC setting they can act as a gate keeper with the goal of reducing readmissions to hospitals.
Nurse practitioner’s have been authorized to provide Medicare services to subacute and long term care facilities for over 30 years. They receive 85% of a doctors reimbursement. There are more that 200,000 NP’s licensed in the United States. Currently less than twenty five (25%) percent are certified to work in the subacute and long term care setting.
Each state has different requirements for NP’s and these practitioners must have a clear understanding of the scope of services they can provide in the subacute and long term care setting. NP’s can in some cases practice independently, but in most cases states require them to work collaboration with a physician. In most cases NP’s are employed by physician practices, hospitals or subacute or long term care facilities.
Physicians are beginning to see NP’s as team members allowing them to provide care and using them to help expand their practices. NP’s will become even more desirable due to the growing shortage of physicians.
More of the educational programs for NP’s need to include geriatric interaction. Placing NP’s in subacute and long term care settings will give the NP’s a better understanding on the needs of these groups as well as the training they will need to provide care in these settings.
While enrollment in Medical schools is down, enrollment in NP programs is rising. The future of NP’s in the subacute and long term care setting is without a doubt a growing one.