The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) recognizes the critical role that pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) and other health care providers play in ensuring that all children have equitable access to high-quality health care according to an updated position statement released in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care. To remove barriers that may limit families and children from receiving comprehensive, continuous and coordinated health care, NAPNAP continues to advocate for access to in-person and telehealth services and emphasize the importance of a primary health care model which encourages lifelong and thorough access to care.
In the statement, NAPNAP stresses that universal health care insurance access is crucial for improving children’s health care. Lack of health insurance is a significant obstacle to children receiving care. Today, more than 4.3 million children in the U.S. are uninsured. Programs such as Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) were developed to provide health insurance and high-quality primary health care from a usual source of care for eligible children. NAPNAP supports efforts that increase the number of children and adolescents with health insurance while recognizing that this is only one step towards receiving care. The limited number of pediatric providers and the inadequacy of pediatric provider networks will continue to limit the care of many American children.
“By advocating for the expansion of insurance coverage, pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) can help ensure that all children have access to high-quality, evidence-based pediatric health care regardless of their socioeconomic background, race, citizenship status or other factors,” said NAPNAP President Jennifer Sonney, PhD, APRN, PPCNP-BC, FAANP.
To promote further initiatives and legislation allowing access to care, NAPNAP supports multiple strategies such as total funding of Medicaid and other services for children and families, addressing eligibility criteria from state to state, and removing regulatory barriers to APRN practice. Additionally, NAPNAP supports the National Academy of Medicine’s recommendations, including full practice authority for advanced practice registered nurses, supporting nurses in achieving higher education as well as becoming full partners with physicians and other health care professionals, and expanding nurse leadership positions through increased appointments to key decision making and board positions.
Finally, NAPNAP supports the Healthy People 2030 objectives to improve health by ensuring that people obtain timely and high-quality health care services. This can be achieved through supporting growth in community organizations by providing prevention services, increasing the proportion of children and adolescents with health insurance, and reducing the number of people who cannot receive medical care or prescription medications when needed. These, along with other recommendations, can help to optimize child and family health.
The position statement is published in the July/August edition of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care and can be accessed here.