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CMS nurse training program aimed at bolstering primary care

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced today a four-year, $200-million training program for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) that aims to help increase the number of primary care healthcare workers.

As CMS sees it, APRNs – everyone from nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists to nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives – play a pivotal role in providing primary care and can help alleviate the shortage of primary care providers across the country.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we’re taking steps to put more advanced practice registered nurses at the forefront of our healthcare system,” said Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of CMS, in a press release. “Better training and support for advanced practice registered nurses will mean higher quality care.”

Under the Graduate Nurse Education Demonstration, the government will provide money to eligible hospitals to increase the availability of clinical training programs. Payments to the hospitals will be based on the number of APRNs they are able to train as part of the program.

The demonstration requires that half of clinical training occur in non-hospital settings in the community. While most clinical training in large hospitals already includes some rotations in settings that treat minority and underserved populations, this demonstration will set a higher requirement for training in non-hospital community-based settings. Students receiving training funded by the demonstration will be encouraged to practice in non-hospital community-based settings, including in underserved areas.

CMS will provide reimbursement to up to five eligible hospitals for the reasonable cost of providing clinical training to APRN students added as a result of the demonstration. The program will be run by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

CMMI will accept applications for the demonstration until May 21, 2012 More information, including how to apply, is available on the CMMI website.

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