The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a call for applications for a new Affordable Care Act initiative designed to strengthen primary care in the United States. Under the Graduate Nurse Education Demonstration, CMS will provide hospitals working with nursing schools to train advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), with payments of up to $200 million over 4 years to cover the costs of APRNs’ clinical training.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we’re taking steps to put more advanced practice registered nurses at the forefront of our health care system,” said Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of CMS, and a nurse. “Better training and support for advanced practice registered nurses will mean higher quality care.”

APRNs—whether they are nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, or nurse midwives—play a pivotal role in primary care. This new initiative will provide funds to eligible hospitals to increase the availability of clinical training settings that will bolster the skills and supply of APRNs. Payments to the participating hospitals will be linked directly to the number of additional APRNs that the hospitals and their partnering entities are able to train as a result of their participation in the demonstration.

CMS will select up to five eligible hospitals to participate in the demonstration. The demonstration is expected to run for 4 years.