JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Jacksonville-based Availity, the nation's largest real-time health information network, announced today a new partnership with Jacksonville University, northeast Florida's leader in healthcare education, to expand access to primary care for millions of Floridians.
With a $100,000 donation from Availity to establish the Availity Nurse Practitioner Scholars Fund at Jacksonville University, qualified nurse practitioners (NPs) may begin to earn the educational credits needed to offer independent primary care without an attending doctor, as outlined under a new state law.
"Florida has the largest shortage of primary care health professionals in the country. Aging patients, retiring physicians, and the current pandemic are creating a perfect storm for access to care, and change needs to happen now," said Russ Thomas, CEO of Availity. "Since philanthropy is a big part of who we are at Availity, we believe that change starts with us."
"At Jacksonville University, we're working every day to transform the health of our communities by educating and training exceptional healthcare professionals," said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost. "With Availity's generous support, we can help up to 1,000 nurse practitioners advance their education and establish their own primary care practice."
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, more than 6 million Floridians live in areas where there is a shortage of primary care physicians, making Florida last in the nation in access to primary care.
The Availity Nurse Practitioner Scholars Fund at Jacksonville University will help NPs earn the Continuing Education Credits required for obtaining a license for independent practice under House Bill 607, which Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law earlier this year. HB 607 allows NPs to offer primary care without an attending physician if NPs can demonstrate the following requirements have been met within the past five years:
3,000 hours of practice experience under the supervision of a physician
either three credit hours of graduate-level coursework or 45 continuing education units (CEU) in advanced pharmacology and differential diagnosis
Increasing the number of NPs practicing independently will help residents receive needed acute or chronic condition care sooner, potentially preventing a much more costly emergency department visit or hospitalization. Costs would be further reduced by enabling NPs to deliver care alone instead of with a physician supervisor.
"Nurse practitioners play an invaluable role in delivering patient-centered care in our healthcare system, so it is highly gratifying to see such a program that recognizes our contribution," said Vernon Langford, MSN, APRN, president of the Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners. "We celebrate the many newly independent nurse practitioners that will emerge from this program who will go on to deliver high-quality care and improve outcomes for the millions of patients who need them."
Under the leadership of Provost Dr. Chris Sapienza and Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences Dean Dr. Mark Tillman, Jacksonville University will grant scholarships on a first come, first served basis and will offer the 45 continuing education units (CEU) needed to qualify for independent practice through self-paced, 100% online modules. Qualified nurse practitioners can learn more about the CEUs and apply for the scholarship at www.ju.edu/availity. Users of Availity's Provider Engagement Portal can find additional information on the homepage under News and Announcements.
Jacksonville University is an established leader in healthcare education and training, particularly within its distinguished Keigwin School of Nursing at the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Keigwin School of Nursing was named one of the Best Nursing Schools in the South by US News & World Report and recognized for its Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Nursing programs.
About Availity Availity is the place where healthcare finds the answers needed to shift focus back to patient care. By solving the communication challenges between healthcare stakeholders, Availity creates a richer, more transparent exchange of information among health plans, providers, and technology partners. As the nation's largest health information network, Availity facilitates over 12 billion clinical, administrative, and financial transactions annually. The company's suite of dynamic products, built on a powerful, intelligent platform, enables real-time collaboration for success in a competitive, value-based care environment.
About Jacksonville University Named one of the Best Regional Universities in the South for 15 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report, Jacksonville University is a premier private institution in northeast Florida. Founded in 1934, the University offers more than 100 majors, minors, and programs, including in-demand degrees in Nursing, Business, Biology and Marine Science, Engineering, Finance, as well as those in the more contemporary and specialized fields of Aviation, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Film, Animation, and Sports Business. Jacksonville University, with its four colleges, five schools and two institutes, is located in a beautiful riverfront setting in suburban Jacksonville, across the St. Johns River from downtown and just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. The 240-acre campus includes a half-mile of riverfront, oak-lined paths, and a mix of historic and new campus buildings.