Improving Access to Care – Advocacy Issue in Nevada

NSC 950 Advocacy Issue Assignment

Students should go to the Campaign for Action website at and review the material on the site by clicking on the tabs within the navigation bar (i.e., about, issues, our network, etc…) Select one of the issues found under the “Issues” tab you are interested in. Complete the Advocacy Assignment Form found in week one’s folder. Over the next several weeks, investigate what your state’s action coalition is doing related to the selected issue. Also, review the literature to find further evidence of outcomes the nation has reached related to this
issue. Complete a short-written report which is due in week 6.

Advocacy Report Criteria and Grading Rubric

  • Identify selected issue and how it relates to the future of nursing
  • Description of the issue, this should provide some basic background information on the issue/need and potential impact to population health
  • Describe what your State’s Action Coalition is doing to address this selected issue:
    • identify the agency(s) who is/are coordinating the state’s action campaigns, include
    • any strategies/recommendations identified, and has there been any legislative activity in the past 5 years (can include proposed bills)
  • Provide an update on national success to achieve this issue based on information found in the literature and from professional organizations
  • Conclusion, link how this issue can address advocacy for social/ethical justice or equity of care, and then provide a personal reflection on “How have my nursing leadership ideas, thoughts, and perspectives changed by this knowledge”

Improving Access to Care – Advocacy Issue in Nevada

Over the past decade, state and federal legislations have been critiqued for drafting policies which inadvertently limit access to care. This is particularly why improving access to care has become a major advocacy issue due to its far-reaching implications to the nursing profession. Although nurses strive to contribute fully to the provision of care to patients, they fail to do so fully due to a myriad of policy-related challenges faced on a continual basis. The Nevada Action Coalition (NCA) is cognizant of this reality and currently clamoring for immediate change in policy (Campaign for Action, 2016).

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A transformation in policy is bound to ensure that they become capable of practicing fully based on their level of training and education.  This would, inadvertently, improve access to care by removing restrictions hence assuring patients of affordable and superior healthcare services. The Nevada Action Coalition (NCA) has traditionally strived to bolster the nursing profession by seeking to improve the quality and access to care across the state.  The organization seeks to achieve this goal by setting elaborate goals, mobilizing stakeholders, educating policymakers, advancing key recommendations, and raising awareness through popular media. Improving access to care is fundamental to the future of nursing since it guarantees the provision of quality healthcare services, health promotion, and occasioning a reduction in disparities.


            Access to care is one of the most significant aspects of the healthcare sector in the United States. In Nevada, major political actors such as Governor Steve Sisolak have often espoused the integral nature of access to affordable healthcare as a keystone of successful societies (Nevada Governor, 2020). From a political standpoint, access to healthcare entails guaranteeing access to healthcare as a precursor to assuring the population of access to quality healthcare services. This policy particularly targets vulnerable populations from low socio-economic backgrounds who are often plagued inadequate healthcare due to its general inaccessibility. The high cost of primary healthcare services dramatically reduces the chances that an individual would be able to consult a physician on a regular basis, further worsening a precarious situation. According to Healthcare System Access (2019), only 50 percent of the total American population reports having access to care (p. 143). This current situation represents a worrying trend, especially since lack of access to healthcare services is directly linked to poor patient outcomes and a high mortality rate. Inability to access to healthcare has also reduced care-seeking behavior among individuals from vulnerable populations. For instance, an individual with a potentially debilitating health condition may avoid consulting a medical practitioner for fear of a positive diagnosis which may introduce further distress in through their inability to access care.

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Lowering the threshold among healthcare providers has recently been suggested among some of the most feasible approaches which can be applied by nurses to improved access to care. One such strategy involves assigning individual patients to specific nurses for personalized care, building rapport, and ultimately improving access to care. The implementation of this novel approach is now associated with improved compliance, a reduction in compliance and improved healthcare access to patients with chronic ailments and psychiatric disorders. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) is particularly hailed as one of the most monumental transformations ever experienced within the healthcare sector (Young & Kroth, 2017, p. 34).  It is credited with improving access to healthcare by simplifying the process of scheduling consultations, managing patient demand and the creation of a clear communication channel between involved parties.  Since nurses play the role of primary care givers, they are particularly essential in efforts to improve access to care with the ultimate aim of improving patient outcomes.

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How the NCA is addressing inadequate access to care

            The NCA is a leading driving force in efforts to improve access to care within the state of Nevada. It recognizes the importance of access to quality care which is why it currently endeavors to introduce sustainable change. Debra Collins (Director, Nevada Alliance for Nursing Excellence) and Debra Toney (head of the Nevada Board of Health Care and Medical Services) currently organize the organization’s campaigns which aim to improve the quality of care and its accessibility. The NCA then coordinates with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in its efforts to improve access to healthcare. The introduction of mobile clinics such as the ones provided by the Southern Nevada Health District is an initiative linked to the NCA which now offers primary healthcare to the general population. This particular campaign relies on a bus equipped with the necessary technology to offer medical services, particularly to patients residing in remote and underserved areas within the state.

 The NCA also promotes partnering with retail clinic within Nevada. This framework guarantees patients of timely access to essential services especially in the case of patients with minor health requirements. The organization’s campaign for partnerships with retail clinics now liaises with Kroger, Target, Wal-Mart, Safeway, and Walgreens to assure patients of inexpensive no-appointment healthcare services. Furthermore, the establishment of co-located clinics has been hailed for improving access to care by removing common barriers associated with needy populations (Serban, 2019). Co-located clinics have particularly benefitted low-income areas such as Indian Springs, Paradise Valley, Tuscarora, and Luning with a considerable population of persons living in homeless shelters.

Update on national success to achieve access to care

Recent initiatives by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have solely focused on raising awareness regarding services covered under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA). It is typical for populations in low-income areas to remain virtually unaware of medical services available and how to access them. The HHS has successfully improved access to care by disseminating crucial information about available grants for vulnerable populations such as low-income seniors. According to the Committee on Optimizing Scheduling in Health Care & Medicine (2015), the HHS has successfully improved access to healthcare care by focusing on the provision of preventative healthcare services. Physical exams to promote health and wellness are now routinely offered by specialists to confront emerging challenges such as cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and mental health problems. The HHS now tasks health providers with providing free preventative services which is currently responsible for improvements witnessed with regard to care-seeking behavior. Furthermore, the federal government has fostered a robust health insurance market to secure coverage for low-income patients thus improving access to care. The opposition of the sale of insurance plans is also a national success in the quest for access to care and responsible for limiting out-of-pocket expenses.        

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Access to care has recently emerged as a major issue within the healthcare sector. Organizations such as the Nevada Action Coalition (NCA) are acutely aware of this reality and now actively participate in initiatives to improve access to care. Improved access to care can address ethnic and racial disparities in the United States through reliance on model supporting equity in health care. This knowledge has transformed my nursing leadership ideas. I know acknowledge the integral role of a registered nurse (RN) in effecting changes which eventually improve access to care therefore resulting in better patient outcomes.

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