One important element of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that is relative to community/public health are the preventative measures. Measures taken by patients to prevent disease are vital for a healthy community. Many health care plans under the ACA, do not have to pay a copayment, co-insurance, or deductible to obtain suggested preventive services such as screenings, vaccinations, and counseling (U.S. Department of Human Health and Services, 2017). Patients and their covered dependents are eligible depending on age for many of these tests and screenings which can include blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol tests. In addition, cancer screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies. Counseling in areas such as tobacco cessation, losing weight, eating healthier, depression treatment, and reducing alcohol consumption. Regular well-baby and well-child visits from birth to age of 21. Routine immunizations such as influenza and pneumonia shots. Also, prenatal care to ensure a healthy pregnancy. These measures are what I discuss as a nurse case manager with every assessment with a new patient to help keep them informed. I recently had a diabetic patient who met with a registered dietitian for three covered visits to discuss her diet plan and start a food journal to help meet her dietary goals of lowering her A1c. In my senior population where many are on fixed incomes, the preventive measures that are at no charge help ensure they will follow through and have better health outcomes. I think that nurses can help by educating and advocating for the patient as many are not aware that these screening measures that can help them identify potential health issues early on which can prevent health costs and suffer down the road. In fact, my employer sends out a survey once the nurse has graduated the patient from our services which includes questions about whether preventive measures were discussed.
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