Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario and Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic Association Supports ‘Vision for Tomorrow’ Report
Nurse Practitioners represent a great promise for an improved healthcare system
The Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO) and the Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic Association (NPLCA) support the recommendations outlined in the ‘Vision for Tomorrow’ report that was released by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) on February 26. As suggested, Nurse Practitioners (NPs) represent the greatest opportunity to achieve healthcare transformation in pursuit of the Quadruple Aims of:
|Improving the patient experience;||Improving the health of populations;|
|Reducing the cost of health care; and,||Improving the caregiver experience.|
NPAO appreciates the comprehensiveness of the Vision for Tomorrow document and indeed NPAO has been advocating for most of the recommendations in the report for years and continues to discuss the opportunities that NPs present to achieve exceptional healthcare for all. We appreciate the support of RNAO on these recommendations.
Overall the document highlights that NPs are not being utilized to their full potential and that NPs represent an extraordinary promise to the future of an effective healthcare system. NPAO has advocated for years for removal of the senseless barriers to their scope of practice such as the ordering of CT and MRI scans and Point of Care testing, and more, that can ease the physician burden, improve efficiencies, and expand access to health care for patients. Ontario is behind all other provinces on this front.
It has been stated repeatedly that NPs are needed in long term care (LTC) facilities. NPAO has advocated that NPs should be allowed to be Medical Directors in LTC facilities, which current legislation prevents.. NPAO, as well as every LTC study and all health professionals, have called on the government for the appropriate mix of healthcare providers in LTC, including an NP in every LTC facility. This was part of our presentation to the Ministry of Long Term Care’s Staffing Study in 2020, as well as to the Long Term Care Commission.
NPs run 25 Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics (NPLCs) in Ontario that serve over 100,000 patients but there is no provincial data collected regarding their efficacy, despite repeated requests. Patients are not enrolled or attached to the NPLC that provides them with care and are formally treated as unattached patients. This represents a big gap in healthcare data. The NPLCA, through their own internal data-sharing agreements and data streamlining across clinics, has been able to show that NPLCs either meet or surpass targets set by the Ministry of Health in almost every respect, while simultaneously providing care to the most complex and underserved residents in their communities.
NPs as the Most Responsible Provider (MRP) is clearly an advantage that too few acute care facilities have implemented.
One of the great limiting factors for the integration of NPs across the healthcare system is the current funding model. Whereas the salaried or contracted NP compensation model makes sense in a number of environments and provides an advantage to better utilize NPs, it is a barrier in other areas where NP professionals are sought but no funding exists. The funding model for NPs has not evolved since their inception and more innovative alternatives must be introduced.
NPs are the fastest growing nursing category in Canada for good reason. They have the knowledge, competencies, and flexibility to fulfill a large number of roles throughout the healthcare system. Ontario needs more NPs.
NPAO, NPLCA, and RNAO are aligned in purpose, and working together we can truly make progress for the integration of NPs in Ontario. It is time for the government to fully utilize NPs to help fulfill the promise they represent to the healthcare transformation that is urgently needed in Ontario.
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About Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario (NPAO)
NPAO is a not-for-profit organization and is the only organization exclusively dedicated to advancing the nurse practitioner profession and is recognized as the professional voice of over 4,000 nurse practitioners in Ontario, including nurse practitioner-led clinics. Our goal is to ensure NPs are an integrated part of the healthcare system so they can deliver upon the promise of exceptional healthcare for all.
About Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic Association (NPLCA)
Nurse Practitioner Led Clinics are an innovative model for delivery of comprehensive primary health care in Ontario. NPLCA represents 25 NPLCs in Ontario providing primary care to over 100,000 patients. The model is designed to improve access to care for the thousands of individuals and families who do not currently have a primary health-care provider. One of the unique aspects of the model is the incorporation of nursing leadership within an interprofessional team.
For More Information Contact
Dana Cooper, Executive Director – NPAO
Claudia Mariano, Manager of Practcie and Policy – NPAO