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HHS Launches $200M APRN Training Demo

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, July 31, 2012

Five hospitals will share as estimated $200 million in federal funding to help train additional advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) the Department of Health and Human Services announced on Monday.

The announcement comes amid growing concern that the demands of healthcare reform will exceed the ability of primary care practitioners to meet those needs.

The graduate nurse education demonstration project will help place additional APRNs such as  nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse midwives "on the frontlines of our healthcare delivery system to further strengthen and grow our primary care workforce," said Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of HHS. The department declined to estimate how many additional APRNs will be trained as part of the four-year demonstration.

"Having more of these kinds of skilled nurses will increase access to essential healthcare services," Sebelius added during a press conference to announce the program participants. APRNs can diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication and treatment regimens, and perform procedures consistent with their scope of practice.

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia), Duke University Hospital Durham, NC), Scottsdale Healthcare Medical Center (Arizona), Rush University Medical Center (Chicago), and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center Hospital (Houston) were selected to participate.

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