Letter to the Editor: Acceptance
BY Laura Bloomfield, Tulsa
Sunday, February 10, 2013
2/10/13 at 8:08 AM
Dr. Michael Maxwell's comments ("Must we wait for health-care improvements?" Jan. 31) highlight an important issue regarding physician attitudes toward change. By 2019, the Affordable Care Act will provide coverage for 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured. These patients will be in need of a primary care provider as the leader of their "medical home."
There are not enough physicians or medical students to care for this influx of patients, especially those who live in rural areas. This gap in primary care providers can be filled by nurse practitioners; however, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Medical Association are resisting the proposal to have nurse practitioners as leaders of the medical home.
Nurse practitioners are advanced-practice nurses who provide medical care under their own license and are uniquely trained to provide primary care, including writing prescriptions and ordering diagnostic testing. Nurse practitioners focus on disease prevention and health promotion. Research shows that patients are equally and often more satisfied with their care when they've been seen by a nurse practitioner.
Dr. Maxwell acknowledges that change is tough, especially in health care. Let's hope the new generation of physicians he refers to will understand the important role that nurse practitioners will play in the future of primary care. The current generation's refusal to do so will prevent millions of Americans from obtaining the health care that this plan is designed to provide.
Editor's note: Bloomfield, RN, BSN, is an adult nurse practitioner student at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center-Tulsa.
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