1. Section Editor(s): Newland, Jamesetta A. PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP, FAAN

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If I had a crystal ball that could predict the future, what would I want to know, or would I even want to know? What if the crystal ball revealed humanity overwhelmingly chose selfishness instead of selflessness, misrepresentation instead of truth, destruction instead of affirmation, exclusion instead of inclusion, or despair instead of hope? Of these opposing outcomes, I would prefer the positive ones were always the reality, but we know this is wishful thinking. Thus, I take note of the sage wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi: "The future depends on what you do today."

Jamesetta A. Newland... - Click to enlarge in new windowJamesetta A. Newland. Jamesetta A. Newland

30th Annual Legislative Update

One's sense of personal responsibility through participation in the democratic process cannot be overstated. Midterm elections will be held this year during which voters will elect members of Congress (all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and full terms for 33 or 34 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate). Additionally, voters in 36 states will elect governors. With the current political environment in the United States and the uncertainty and potential for change in many arenas, the stakes are high for everyone, including healthcare professionals and the populations we serve.


Dr. Susanne Phillips has once again produced an extraordinary report in the 30th Annual Legislative Update featured this month (page 27). Examine the legislative climate in the state(s) in which you are licensed and/or certified. Understand the challenges that persist, and educate yourself about the position each legislator takes on every issue, whether or not you are eligible to vote for that legislator. How will they vote? Will a particular vote adversely affect your practice, your patients, your students, or your family? Be informed and involved. Until NPs in every U.S. state and territory have full practice authority, we still have work to do.


Journal updates

The Nurse Practitioner journal will also publish new offerings this year to continue to meet the needs of our readers. We are introducing two columns: "Mental Health Matters (page 8)" and "Billing & Coding Practices." (February 2018 issue).


When I precept NP students, I repeatedly remind them that in my practice, approximately 25% of every encounter is given to pure medical management while the other 75% is spent addressing psychosocial concerns affecting the patient's health. The Mental Health Matters column will present information on common behavioral conditions encountered in primary care and how to approach assessment and management, including when to refer.


In addition, we all want to maximize reimbursement for the services we actually provide. Insurers create barriers by what seem to be weekly changes in coverage for enrolled patients. I am paneled in close to 40 insurance plans, and I find it hard to keep up. Constant changes in the rules and regulations (and formularies) necessitate frequent review and updates for providers who bill. Each column will focus on one specific billing and coding topic.


We are interested in your comments on these additions to the journal, so please let us know if you have a billing and coding question you would like to see covered or are seeking further information on a particular mental health topic.



Lastly, as 2018 begins, remember to take care of yourself. During National Nurses Week in May 2017, the American Nurses Association invited all nurses to participate in a new challenge-Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation. It is not too late to join the challenge; you can select a self-improvement area on which to focus: physical activity, nutrition, rest, quality of life, safety, and many others. Ultimately, your personal well-being influences your capacity to provide care to others.


Every new year brings personal and professional challenges, but you are prepared. Remember, "The future depends on what you do today."


Jamesetta A. Newland, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP, FAAN

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