AJN, American Journal of Nursing:
Thank you, Diana J. Mason, for advocating and speaking on behalf of nurses during the reaction panel sponsored by the Center for American Progress, where you explained how nurses can contribute to the framework of our nation's health care reform (Editorial, June). I agree that current cost-effectiveness efforts need to focus on cutting insurance premiums and acute care costs as well as on the development of financial and promotional strategies that utilize preventive measures.
Our government leaders are ignoring the fact that the answer is not solely based on solving a treatment cost problem but must also consider illness prevention. False cost savings can easily result from this. Furthermore, this approach completely ignores the potential savings generated by preemptive tests and treatments and distorts true health care projections. For example, many women in this country are currently skipping their yearly mammograms and pap smears because they can't afford the co-pays or deductibles. In a society where cancer is the second leading cause of death among women, these tests should be both accessible and free.
Nurses have so much to offer in the areas of education and managed care. With greater staffing, we can more effectively educate communities and schools about disease prevention and management. We may not like many of the changes that will occur, but we must ensure that our voices are heard at this time.
Maria Roberts, RN, ONC, CCM