October 2001

Catholic Health Initiatives Proposes Grants to Help Develop Innovative Models of Care

Catholic Health Initiatives, with the assistance of the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association, is proposing a federally funded program of grants for the design, implementation and evaluation of innovative models of patient care delivery. These models would provide quality patient care, effectively utilize the professional competencies of nurses and create workplace environments conducive to nurse retention and recruitment.

"Federally supported loans and scholarships for nursing students, financial assistance for nursing schools and creative recruitment efforts are important steps for increasing the supply of nurses," said Colleen Scanlon, RN, JD, senior vice president of advocacy for Catholic Health Initiatives. "However, these steps are not enough to retain nurses in difficult work environments. Policymakers and health providers must also focus on designing new models of patient care delivery that effectively use the skills of increasingly scarce registered nurses and create professionally rewarding work environments."

Scanlon envisions planning grants that multidisciplinary teams would use to assess current care delivery systems, collect data, define problems, brainstorm new approaches and develop new models for the efficient delivery of quality care. Demonstration grants would be used to implement and evaluate the new models to determine their effectiveness in delivering quality care and increasing the professional satisfaction of nurses.

"The development and implementation of new models of care require the commitment of staff time and financial resources, which are already strained in the health care industry," said Scanlon. "Grant funding would enable providers to move forward more quickly and successfully in addressing the shortage of nurses."

Catholic Health Initiatives has developed proposed legislative language and talking points to advance the grant concept. "During the next few months, our market-based leaders will be encouraged to communicate with their members of Congress on the nursing shortage and seek congressional support for this advocacy priority," said Marcia Desmond, director of public policy for Catholic Health Initiatives.

For more information, contact Colleen Scanlon at colleenscanlon@chi-national.org.