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KNOXVILLE — How can nurses help meet the challenges associated with federal health care reform in the delivery of primary care services to improve the health of Tennesseans?

That question will be at the heart of a one-day Primary Care Nursing Summit to be held tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 4), at the Belmont University Curb Center in Nashville. The summit is being sponsored by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The Baker Center was assisted in planning the summit by faculty from the colleges of nursing at UT Knoxville and UT Health Sciences Center, the College of Medicine at the UT Health Sciences Center and Belmont University.

The keynote speaker at the summit will be Susan Hassmiller of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who is involved on the Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine. The Institute recently released a report entitled “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.”

Other speakers will include Dr. Paul Erwin, director of UT Knoxville’s Center for Public Health, who will outline the specific health care challenges that Tennessee faces, and Peter Buerhaus of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who will look at cost and utilization data for advanced practice nurses treating Medicare beneficiaries.

Following the morning presentations, small groups will be convened to discuss how to maximize the contributions of nurses in the delivery of primary health care services to improve the health of Tennesseans. The goal is to develop Tennessee-specific actionable recommendations.

“Although opportunities abound, Tennessee and other states are faced with deep-rooted challenges related to our ability to respond to the reforms associated with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” said summit chairwoman, Carole Myers, an assistant professor in UT’s College of Nursing and the Baker Center’s fellow for health policy. “Those challenges include inadequate infrastructure and scarce resources and competing priorities.

“Additionally, we struggle with a shortage of primary care providers, and this gap will be severely exacerbated when an estimated 30 million Americans, including 650,000 Tennesseans, will acquire health care coverage in 2014 under the new health care reform law. It is imperative that we be forward-thinking in Tennessee in determining priorities for addressing these challenges to assure the health of all Tennesseans and subsequently the vitality of the state.”

About 80 health care professionals, educators and care providers are expected to attend the summit. A live webcast of key note addresses will be available via the Baker Center web page.

The event is also available via webcast.

MEDIA NOTE: This event will be open to the media from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Events will take place in the Vince Gill Room of the Curb Center.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,