Shift Labs recently had the pleasure of speaking with infusion nurse Cora Vizcarra, author of the popularInfusion Nurse blog. Having worked in healthcare for over 25 years, Cora has held nursing positions including ICU, IV team, and home infusion. She serves as an editorial board member for the Journal of Infusion Nursing and was a past president of the Infusion Nurses Society. Today, Cora is the President and CEO of MCV & Associates, an Indiana-based healthcare consulting company.
“Infusion therapy is a treatment required by many patients so it will always be available as a prescribed therapy,” says Cora, referring to infusion therapy’s wide range of applications. IV medications and antibiotics, fluid replacement therapy, nutritional support, blood transfusions, and chemotherapy are all administered intravenously via a venous access. Technological innovations have greatly benefitted the infusion industry, allowing the therapy to be administered in a variety of settings. While inpatient settings such as hospitals are the most common, infusion therapy can also be administered in nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and outpatient settings such as physicians’ offices and patients’ homes.
“I think there will always be a need for home infusion so patients can be at home and still receive their infusion therapy,” says Cora. However, she explains that patients often don’t have a choice whether or not they receive home infusion. When determining whether a patient will receive infusion at home, “the only determining factor is reimbursement -- whether their insurance will pay for the service or not, and what infusion site is approved by their insurance company.” She explains that even if a patient’s insurance includes home infusion benefits, coverage of the cost of home care isn’t necessarily guaranteed. Some insurance plans won’t cover home healthcare nursing and certain drugs to be infused in the home, forcing patients to receive therapy in a hospital or outpatient infusion center to avoid higher out-of-pocket costs. Cora explains that infusion pumps are used in home infusion and home infusion providers are always on the lookout for new and simple technology that will make infusion easier for home patients.
According to Cora, infusion nursing as a specialty is misunderstood by the public. “Often the perception is that it is all about just sticking IV needles in patient’s arms,” says Cora. “It is more than that and requires a professional certification to be recognized as an infusion nurse specialist.”
Public misconceptions about her specialty aside, Cora loves being a nurse. “Nursing is the greatest and most rewarding profession,” she says. “I am so honored to be a part of this profession.”
Check out Cora Vizcarra’s blog at InfusionNurse.org for discussions, podcasts, and stories focused on all things infusion nursing or follow her on Twitter at @InfusionNurse.
Cora Vizcarra is not affiliated with Shift Labs. Many thanks to her for chatting with us about infusion nursing in this space.