Pennsylvania Gov. Says NPs Are the Solution
Writing in today's issue of USA Today, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell champions nurse practitioners as the means to universal access to healthcare.
Together with Tine Hansen-Turton, who is CEO of the National Nursing Centers Consortium headquartered in Philadelphia, Rendell argues that the projected primary care physician shortage could thwart efforts for universal healthcare coverage.
"So what's the solution?"they ask.
"In Pennsylvania, our reform plan advocates using highly skilled and licensed non-physician providers to help fill the physician shortage. More than 3,700 family nurse practitioners graduated from masters-level and postmasters-level programs in the USA in 2007. Nurse practitioners and other nonphysician providers such as physician assistants, nurse midwives and dental hygienists can help stretch our resources.
"Studies have shown that nurse practitioners are capable of managing 80%-90% of the care provided by primary care physicians without resorting to physician referral or consultation. And in all 50 states, nurse practitioners can prescribe medications. They also can diagnose and treat patients, order lab tests and refer patients to specialists."
Rendell has been a friend to the state's NPs since he took office. In July 2007, he kicked off his healthcare reform program by signing five laws expanding NP authority.