Critical Access Hospital, USA
Title: Nurse Practitioners: Providing Sustainable Care Across Diverse Rural Populations in the USA
Dr. Michelle Boltz has spent her Nursing career practicing full spectrum primary family medicine in arctic Alaska with the Inupiaq people and providing secondary hospitalist services in an isolated critical access hospital in mountainous Montana. On the forefront of rural health services, Dr. Boltz has pioneered the use of telemedicine in direct patient care and the development of sustainable organizational health care delivery systems that meet the unique needs of the diverse communities they serve.
Health care providers in rural locations face unique logistical and resource challenges, often times as isolated professionals. Join Dr. Boltz in an interactive sharing of individual rural nursing experiences and exploring common ground and regional ingenuity in meeting these challenges. Providing sustainable, culturally competent care requires strong integration with existing community assets and strategies that account for the distinctive circumstances of each community. Dr. Boltz shares her experience as Chief of Village Services for the North West Arctic Alaska working together with the Alaska State Community Health Aide program providing full spectrum primary care in remote villages across the state.
Rural hospital closures significantly affect both the economic and physical health of communities. Since 2010, more than 75 rural hospitals have closed with an estimated shortage of 45,000 physician providers by 2020, a crisis affecting over 90 million rural Americans. In response to this shortage, the hospitalist role is increasingly being allocated to Nurse practitioners, who have been shown to be a valuable resource by reducing length of stay and improving hospital profit compared to physician hospitalists without affecting readmissions or mortality. This shift is supported by American federal health care organizations as demonstrated by The Institute of Medicine’s landmark 2010 report, The Future of Nursing, which includes recommendations to allow advance practice registered nurses (APRNs) to practice to the full extent of their education and licensure in order to increase access to and quality of care in our struggling health care system. Dr. Boltz shares her expertise in developing and implementing a successful Nurse Practitioner hospitalist program in a rural Montana critical access hospital.