Providers face shortage of HIV Professionals

The number of people living with HIV infection is outstripping the number of health professionals adequately prepared to meet their needs, according to an Institute of Medicine report. This growing gap is one of several obstacles to expanding HIV testing and access to care. The IOM says the report underscores the importance of health care providers and public health officials being flexible and willing to employ a variety of approaches to meet the needs of HIV-positive individuals. Collaborating on patient care and shifting tasks across providers to the extent permitted by state regulations are just two of the options facilities could use, the IOM says, noting, however, that state scope-of-practice policies can hinder the ability to take full advantage of such approaches.—Visit http://iom.edu.

Handbook Aims to Help Nurses Improve Care

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has prepared a 1,400-page handbook Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses. Experts in the field reviewed the literature and their contributions are grouped into six sections: patient safety and quality, evidence-based practice, patient-centered care, working conditions—work environment, critical opportunities for patient safety and quality, and tools. "Nurses play a vital role in improving safety and quality of care—not only in the hospital or ambulatory treatment facility, but also in community-based care and care performed by family members," AHRQ said. "Nurses need to know what proven techniques and interventions they can use to enhance patient outcomes." The handbook was funded partly by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.—Visit innovations.ahrq.gov/qualitytools/patient-safety-and-quality-evidence-based-handbook-nurses.

More Medicaid patients, Same Primary Care problems

In much of the country, growth in Medicaid enrollment under health reform will greatly outpace growth in the number of primary care physicians willing to treat new Medicaid patients, according to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change. And, temporary increases in Medicaid reimbursement meant to entice more primary care physicians into accepting Medicaid patients are unlikely to make much of a difference in the states facing the biggest enrollment jumps, according to the study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study found that states with the smallest number of primary care physicians per capita overall—generally in the South and Mountain West—potentially will see the largest percentage increases in Medicaid enrollment. In contrast, states with the largest number of PCPs per capita—primarily in the Northeast—will see more modest increases in Medicaid enrollment.—Visit www.hschange.org/CONTENT/1193/.