Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Scope of Practice for NPs and PAs

This blog has been a proponent of increased use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to reduce the cost of health care.  However, do they really reduce the cost of care?  On the one hand, NPs and PAs cost less than physicians.  On the other hand, if patients must visit an NP/PA and then a […]

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The Growth of Nonphysician Clinicians

If you are an avid reader of this blog, you’ve heard about nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs).  What you might not know is how they popularity has grown over the past decade.  A paper by Strange (2013) cites the following statistics: With more than 85,000 PAs and 150,000 NPs eligible to practice, their […]

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Nurse anesthetists: To Reimburse or Not to Reimburse?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently approved reimbursing nurse anesthetists for care provided to Medicare beneficiaries. Critics say it jeopardizes patient safety, while supporters say it extends health care to pain patients who are often underserved by the medical community. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) (unsurprisingly) applauds the decision. Janice […]

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America’s Oral Health Crisis…and a Solution?

Frontline has done extensive reporting on the problems of dental care in America.  In particular, they cite the lack of quality that both children and adults receive at various corporate dental firms (e.g., KoolSmiles, Aspen Dental). The problem should not be placed solely on these corporate firms, however.  Reimbursement rates for dentists are low to […]

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In which states do nurse pracitioners have the broadest scope of practice?

A July 2012 IOM report recommends changing state laws to allow “nurse practitioners and physician assistants to practice to the full extent of their educational preparation.”  Based on information from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), not all states currently allow permit NPs this flexibility. Currently 16 states and the District of Columbia (see below) […]

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Are nurse practitioners cost effective?

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are non-physician clinicians that can often either assist or directly provide primary care. Some studies have found that NPs can independently manage 80 percent of patients’ primary care needs. Other studies show that NPs provide high-quality care. A recent article, however, suggests that NPs may not be cost effective.  This is a curious […]

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