Someone pursuing a future as a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner should make understanding the details of the healthcare delivery system a priority. By developing a deep understanding of how the American healthcare system works, healthcare providers and prescribers can best cater to their individual patients based on their insurance coverage. Although the Affordable Care Act sought to ensure that all Americans receive reasonably priced and adequate health coverage, years later there are, unfortunately, still millions of Americans uninsured, and those who are insured may experience great variability with what their plans cover. Furthermore, with millions of uninsured people becoming newly insured, as well as policy changes varying with presidential administrations, many Americans may have difficulty understanding their health coverage benefits and limits. It is important for health care providers to have a thorough understanding of this system so that they can educate their patients, individualize their treatment, and advocate on their behalf (McGee & Breslin, 2021). Another reason why it is important for nurse practitioners to fully understand the healthcare delivery system is because it varies from state to state. Depending where a provider lives, his or her ability to render the care he or she aims to provide may be hindered or supported. For example, providers may encounter struggles working with individuals with substance use disorders in states that did not expand Medicaid. Prescribers in these states have reported more difficulty in prescribing buprenorphine for the purpose of treating opioid use disorder. Therefore, it is important for prescribers to develop an understanding of the healthcare delivery system at both federal and state levels (Knudsen & Studts, 2017).
Knudsen, H.K. & Studts, J.L. (2017). Perceived impacts of the Affordable Care Act:
Perspectives of buprenorphine prescribers. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 49(2), 111–121. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2017.1295335
McGee, B.T. & Breslin, S.E. (2021). The Affordable Care Act 10 years in: What nursing
leaders should know. Nurse Leader, 19(1), 57-61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mnl.2020.03.022
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