The Affordable Care Act is regarded as one of the major revolutions that the US healthcare system has experienced over the years. With its major objective set at increasing care access for populations in an equitable manner, including the disadvantaged groups, the ACA has been mentioned as an entity that has impacted on individual, family and community or public health (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2016). At the helm of the ACA has been the focus on public health and its revamping in a bid to rescue the currently ‘sick system’ to a desired ‘health system’. The ACA’s focus on public health has expanded to include and diversify services such as maternal-child health services, behavioral health services, home visit services as well as prevention and protection programs (Esther Thatcher & Eunhee Park 2012). Within the concepts of ACA the ideal situation has been to continually involve holistic measures that help identify and describe illnesses with a view to manage the prevalence at the more sustainable community level (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2016).
However, these concepts of community health cannot be entirely achieved without expanding the role of the nurse. The nurse has to take full responsibility in the implementation of the basic tenets of community health. These roles include the ability to interact with communities of interest, gather evidence as it relates to these communities and determine the role of culture and beliefs in influencing health and more importantly designing tailored interventions that can help these groups cope with the prevalent predisposing issues (Esther Thatcher & Eunhee Park 2012). Beyond these direct care roles that community health nurses are poised to undertake, there are other important roles such as those relating to socioeconomic factors that influence health. The role of the nurses in community health includes helping the disadvantaged groups such as poor families to access quality care, health education and care for seniors as well as the advocacy for utilization of social services such as the Medicare and Medicaid programs (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2016). For community health nurses, their role on advocacy and policy changes determines how well they impact the healthcare system and thus they have to be adept of the distribution of the limited resources such that they reach the deserving groups (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2016).
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2016). Key Features of the Affordable Care Act | HHS.gov. Retrieved from http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts-and-features/key-features-of-aca/index.htmL
Esther Thatcher MSN, R. N., & Eunhee Park BSN, R. N. (2012). Evolving public health nursing roles: focus on community participatory health promotion and prevention. Online journal of issues in nursing, 17(2), B1.