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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Nurse Practitioner criticizes Tennessee in letter to the editor

I was unable to find a discreet url link to this letter to the editor published in the April 15, 2017 edition of The Tennessean
A nurse practitioner critized the Tennessee legislature for not expanding the Medicaid coverage to the state's most vulnerable.
Letters to the Editor graphic (2)
Legislative failure prompts move- by Natalie Paul
I am a family nurse practitioner, and I completed my education in Nashville in 2016. I completed a rotation at a federally qualified health center in spring and summer 2016, which served low-income and uninsured individuals, and it forever changed my perspective on health care.

I decided I could no longer in good conscience practice in Tennessee due to the failure to expand Medicaid, which is nothing less than an act of legislative violence against the most vulnerable Tennesseans.

In my training, I saw people living in a state of crisis because they could not access basic preventative services and maintenance medications. I regularly sent over half my patients in Tennessee to the emergency room due to acute exacerbation of chronic conditions which could have been easily avoided if there was a robust Medicaid program to provide individuals with access to lifesaving medications and treatments. The emergency room does not treat chronic conditions, and so for many patients there were no ways to get them basic laboratory studies and life-saving medications.

I went home most days and wept for my patients, who could not access relatively inexpensive medications, treatments, or specialty services due to legislative violence. Medicaid expansion would give an estimated 280,000 Tennesseans access to health care.

I moved to Washington state so I could treat all my patients with dignity, and provide the standard of care. After my interview for my current position in Washington, also at a federally qualified health center, I wept in my car at the differences in the level of care I could provide, and the suffering of my former patients in Tennessee.

I keep the people of Tennessee in my prayers.

Natalie Paul, Vancouver, Wash. 98661

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