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Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 - Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


MEDICARE IMPROVEMENTS FOR PATIENTS AND PROVIDERS ACT--MOTION TO PROCEED -- (Senate - July 09, 2008)

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Ms. MURKOWSKI. I want to thank my colleagues for engaging in this colloquy and raising this issue, which is also of importance to my home State of Alaska. Like New Mexico and Iowa, Alaska is a rural State where approximately 600 nurse practitioners provide critical access to care in Alaska underserved areas. As a matter of fact some areas of Alaska are so rural and isolated they are primarily served by providers who use airplanes as their mode of transportation. Among these providers are nurse practitioners, who often are the most accessible providers in certain areas in Alaska.

Alaska has one of the highest numbers of nurse practitioners per capita of any other State. Nurse practitioners function as partners in the healthcare of their patients, so that, in addition to clinical services, nurse practitioners focus on health promotion, disease prevention and health education and counseling, guiding patients to make smarter health and lifestyle choices.

NPs provide healthcare to people of all ages, all over the State of Alaska, in diverse healthcare settings such as private offices, community clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools, and health departments, and about 40 percent of nurse practitioners in Alaska practice in rural settings, outside the major cities in Alaska, and an estimated 25 percent practice in medically underserved areas of Alaska.

For these reasons and to allow Alaskans the easiest access to a provider in the medical home demonstration, I would encourage the Secretary to allow nurse practitioners to fully participate and lead medical home demonstrations.

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