Insurance industry's influence on healthcare policy stronger than that of nurses

A Gallup survey finds that industry leaders in insurance and elsewhere seek more input from nurses

With health insurance continuing to be a subject of national debate, a new survey finds that the influence of insurance executives on healthcare reform will be second only to government officials over the next five to ten years. These two primary players are followed by pharmaceutical executives, healthcare executives, doctors and patients. Last on the list? Nurses.

Conducted late last year by Gallup on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation's largest healthcare-focused philanthropic organization, this survey was the first of its kind. It sought the assessment of more than 1,500 insurance, corporate, health services, government, industry and academic thought leaders.

"Nurses are highly trusted sources of healthcare information," says Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D. M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "But as we look to reform our health system, our nation is not taking advantage of all that nurses have to offer."

Though nurses are primary contributors to reducing medical errors, increasing quality of care, promoting wellness, improving efficiency, and reducing costs, they are not considered on the same level as doctors when it comes to making decisions or generating revenue.

Lavizzo-Mourey says that these results show that opinion leaders in insurance and other healthcare-related fields recognize they are "squandering opportunities" to use nurses' input as "an essential component in leading and implementing reform."

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Posted: January 20, 2010

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