From the desk of Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, July 3, 2012

Editor's note: This feature is written by nursing professional development expert Adrianne E. Avillion, DEd, RN. Each week, Adrianne writes about an important issue in the area of professional development or answers reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

Teaching resources for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court declared in a 5-4 vote that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is constitutional. As nursing professional development (NPD) specialists, it is more than likely that we will be involved in some teaching/learning activities that pertain to the act. The June 28 ruling upheld the law's most controversial provision, that individuals must obtain insurance coverage or pay a penalty. The court determined that this provision was allowable under the taxation powers of Congress.

The ruling, however, also gives states more freedom to opt out of Medicaid expansion. The ACA will extend Medicaid eligibility to an additional 16 million Americans through 2019. Twenty-six state officials challenged the law with the argument that the law forces states' Medicaid programs to participate or otherwise forfeit all of their federal Medicaid funding. However, the court ruled that "this flaw would be corrected-and Medicaid expansion retained-by forbidding the federal government from pulling out its federal contribution if a state declines to participate in Medicaid expansion." (Resource: Lowes, R. (2012). Supreme Court upholds affordable care act. Retrieved July 1, 2012 from

The ACA is complex and we need accurate resources to help teach others about its impact. Here are two resources to help you in your efforts.

  • The Health Care Law & You. This is a government site designed to help consumers understand the law and the timeline for implementation. The entire law is also available on this web site. It can be accessed at It is an excellent resource for healthcare professionals and the general public alike.
  • The Medscape website is another good resource for immediate news releases that impact professional practice. Medscape also offers a smart phone app. Access Medscape at Medscape registration is free of charge.

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