Cashing in on advanced nursing training

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CMS is spending $200 million to boost the number of qualified advanced practice nurses. Could this be a solution to staffing challenges in primary care practices?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is launching a pilot program to boost the numbers of nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) training and working in practices like yours.

CMS announced a call for applications for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act initiative called “Graduate Nurse Education Demonstration” on March 21. Hospitals working with nursing schools to train APRNs will receive from the agency payments of up to $200 million over 4 years to cover the costs of APRNs’ clinical training.

APRNs include nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives. The demonstration will provide funds to eligible hospitals to increase the availability of clinical training settings that will bolster the skills and supply of APRNs.

Payments to the participating hospitals will be linked to the number of additional APRNs that the hospitals and their partnering entities are able to train as a result of their participation in the demonstration. The payment will be calculated on a per-student basis, comparing previous enrollment levels in APRN training programs with enrollment under the demonstration.

Last week, Medical Economics eConsult reported that clinical support staff, including as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, recorded the largest turnover at medical groups that responded to a survey of the American Medical Group Association.

The CMS demonstration requires that half of clinical training occur in nonhospital settings in the community, such as primary care practices and clinics that treat minority and underserved populations.

CMS will select up to five eligible hospitals to participate in the demonstration. For more information, visit the Graduate Nurse Education Demonstration Web site.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we’re taking steps to put more advanced practice registered nurses at the forefront of our healthcare system,” said Marilyn Tavenner, CMS acting administrator, in a statement. She is a nurse. “Better training and support for APRNs will mean higher-quality care.”