Care Coordination and the Essential Role of Nurses

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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 health care 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.
ANA as active partner with national healthcare quality organizations to push for officially capturing, documenting and measuring nurses’ role in providing care coordination: 
  • Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, Care Coordination Measures Atlas - The Atlas includes measures of patient and caregiver experiences with care coordination, as well as experiences of health care professionals and health system managers.