Sunday, December 16, 2012

Nurse Practitioners, The New York Times, and The Blog

 License nurse practitioners and other similarly trained medical personnel (e.g. physician-assistants) to practice medicine - independently and without supervision by a physician.
There are 158,348 licensed nurse-practitioners in the United States (American College of Nurse Practitioners, 2008). Just imagine the increase in the availability of medical practitioners if even 50% of them would open family practices, supplementing the present number of family practitioners (95,075 in 2009, according to the American Association of Family Practitioners). Nurse practitioners (see Blog July 16, 2008) are perfectly capable of handling the vast majority of medical issues (I would guesstimate some 95%) for which patients visit physicians.

The above is excerpted from The Blog entry "Medical Care - Payment and Practice (May 30, 2011).

In today's New York Times (December 16) the lead editorial is entitled "When the Doctor Is Not Needed" with the sub-heading "Well-trained health care workers can do some jobs as well or better, and for much less money." The editorial, part of a series examining ways to decrease the cost of medical care, spotlights pharmacists, retail clinics, trusted community aides, self-care at home, and, of course nurse practitioners, who are now licensed to essentially "practice medicine" in 18 states the the District of Columbia - without a doctor's involvement.  It goes on to cite a report from the Institute of Medicine calling for the "removal of legal barriers that hinder nurse practitioners from providing medical care...."

So, keep reading The Blog, and stay ahead of the game!

No comments: