On September 14, 2021, Columbia Nursing’s faculty practice, the Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Group, celebrated five years of serving the Washington Heights community, with nearly 42,000 patient visits and almost 1,500 house calls to date.
“We provide primary care to the community, in a community lacking access to primary care,” says Stephen Ferrara, DNP, associate dean of clinical affairs and an associate professor of nursing.
“Members of the Washington Heights community can count on the Nurse Practitioner Group for excellent primary care delivered by highly skilled, experienced NPs,” says Diana Hernandez, the senior practice manager, who has been with the practice since it opened. “We want our patients to feel welcomed and supported from the moment they arrive in our office. I am very proud to be a part of this community-based practice.”
The practice’s roots stretch back more than two decades to Columbia Nursing’s original faculty practice, Columbia Advanced Practice Nurse Associates (CAPNA), which opened in 1997 in midtown Manhattan.
CAPNA was one of the first nurse practitioner-led faculty practices in the country, and validated the cost, quality, and competence benefits of advanced practice nurses. For commercial insurers, NPs in the practice were compensated at the same rate as primary care physicians. CAPNA was eventually rebranded as the ColumbiaDoctors Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Group, and opened the Washington Heights location.
In 2020, the Nurse Practitioner Group closed its midtown site, consolidating the practice to operate exclusively out of Washington Heights. This allowed patients to access primary care services and mental health care under one roof, and opened more clinical placements for students in the advanced practice nursing program (APRN). The practice hosted its first cohort of Family Nurse Practitioner students in 2020. The program, created to give students clinical experience during the pandemic, continues today.
In honor of the practice’s five years of serving the community, here are five ways that the Nurse Practitioner Group has taken the lead in providing innovative, high-quality primary care to local residents. We look forward to many more milestones in the years ahead!