MA to NPs: SOS!

Having learned the hard lesson that mandating universal health coverage after a generation of allowing primary care to deteriorate results in patients having access to waiting lists rather than physicians, Massachusetts is calling on nurse practitioners for help:

An amendment to the Massachusetts law that requires all residents to maintain health insurance includes several provisions that appear to equate nurse practitioners with primary care doctors.

Faced with an additional 439,000 formerly uninsured residents obtaining coverage (it was mandated as of July 1, 2007), the state is facing a critical shortage of primary care physicians and an increase in emergency department crowding, the state’s medical society says.

I’ve read a lot of negative comments by physicians against nurse practitioners.  The NPs, not unexpectedly, regard themselves as the future of health care.  It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.  I suspect the problems with primary care that disincentivize medical students to go into the field will affect NP students even more so since NPs get paid less than MDs or DOs.

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