In its plan to expand insurance coverage, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 encouraged the use of advanced practice nurses (APRNs) as substitutes for physicians in order to reduce healthcare professional shortages the law itself helped create. In response, APRN graduation rates increased. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) reports on its website that the number of certificates doubled from 2016 to 2017 and grew 9% from 2017 to 2018. As of this writing, more than 20 US states, the District of Columbia, and the Veterans Administration now allow APRNs to care for patients independent of the supervision or collaboration agreement with a licensed physician.
This expansion in practice scope has increased the numbers of these clinicians per capita but has not decreased patient wait times and there have been no improvements in affordability or medical care delivery. In fact, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) 2018 Update: The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections from 2016 to 2030 combined with the American Medical Association’s data mapping practice locations, these unsupervised APRNs are saturating health care markets already populated by physicians.
A growing number of studies find that NPs order more tests and imaging than physicians and prescribe more antibiotics unnecessarily. In addition to this, demands for pay parity with physicians counter promises by the AANP that APRNs decrease the cost of care and improve care delivery models for patients.
We are an organization formed by physicians who met on social media sharing our personal and patient experiences that expose the dangers of unsupervised medical care by non-physicians. We recognized that many vulnerable populations already hurting by disparities in medical care were most at risk for harm from this care. We set out to fight for all patients to have access to quality and safe medical care. Physicians for the Protection of Patients(PHYSICIANS FOR PATIENTS) was incorporated in 2018.
While NPs are valuable members of the medical team and have made many notable contributions to medical care, expanding their scope of practice to unsupervised care is not the answer to a physician shortage.
PHYSICIANS FOR PATIENTS is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization of volunteer physicians who believe it is dangerous for non-physicians and bureaucrats to practice medicine. Patients should know the training and education of every member of their care team and be able to have access to a physician.
PHYSICIANS FOR PATIENTS is a member of Free To Care (http://free2care.org), a growing grassroots coalition now representing over 8 million medical experts and patients. Together we have developed a comprehensive roadmap of practical solutions that will actually improve patient access to affordable, equitable, safe, and timely physician-led care for you and your loved ones.
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