Group: Reimburse coordination of care

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Care coordination functions, as carried out by registered nurses, should be federally reimbursed, a leading nurses group says.

A position paper from the American Nurses Association notes that although care coordination has long been a core competency for RNs, it needs to be defined, measured and documented by healthcare finance systems.

“It's long overdue that this nursing service is highlighted, accounted and paid for, just like other essential healthcare services that a patient receives,” ANA President Karen A. Daley, RN, Ph.D., said in a statement. “Patients know that nurses are coordinating their care.”

According to the ANA, nurse-led care coordination efforts are especially helpful for ensuring smooth care ­transitions for complex and elderly individuals.

The Affordable Care Act puts care coordination front and center with payment reforms such as accountable care organizations.

Care coordination programs have been shown to reduce hospital readmissions, improve patient satisfaction and increase safety for older adults during transitions between settings, according to an another report from the ANA.