Many states have been considering options to increase the number of primary care providers in purview of growth in aging population and health insurance sector. More than 16 million individuals are projected to get health insurance coverage by 2016 and the number may go beyond.
In a move to meet the demand for primary care providers, states may reconsider their existing laws about allowing Nurse Practitioners (NP) in primary care. In the United States, currently, 16 states and the District of Columbia allow NPs to practice independently of a physician. NPs could contribute a lot if other states also consider allowing them in primary care. The Nurse Practitioners are well trained and qualified enough to provide diagnosis and treatment of acute illness and chronic condition.
States have been regulating the practice of medicine in the United States. There has been no consensus over the issue of allowing NPs due to their respective law of governing related to healthcare professionals. In order to meet the demand for primary care professionals, states could focus on reexamining their existing rules and regulations in this regard.
NPs, certified registered nurses, have been practicing in a variety of population focusing in the areas of family practice, pediatrics, women’s health and geriatrics. The number of Nurse Practitioners is likely to increase many fold in next 10 years. The states could capitalize the growing number of healthcare professionals by amending their existing governing laws related to NP practices.
As per AANP, 86.5% of NPs are trained in primary care and they could contribute a lot to the primary care workforce in the United States.
In the case of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), there are also differences among states regarding practices and legislation. Six states have fully implemented APRN Consensus Model whereas 10 other states have been considering the legislation. Currently, 267,000 APRNs represent a powerful force in the U.S. health care system.
States could meet the demand for more primary care professionals by liberating governing laws over practice of NP healthcare sector.