Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants are among the fast growing fields in the healthcare industry. Increasingly, both of these professionals are doing roles that were exclusively for MDs and ODs. This has been due to many factors, including:
- There’s a need for more medical professional access, particularly with our aging population in the US.
- NP and PAs attract a individuals who want to be healthcare professionals, but do not want the debt or liability that comes from being a MD or OD.
- Many states now allow NPs and PAs to work autonomously, which makes it very attractive to those who want easier access to one’s own medical practice.
However, there is growing concern among medical doctors about the autonomy of NP and PAs, with the American Osteopathic Association being critical of the practice.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners are not taking this sitting down. The following statement is attributable to Joyce Knestrick, Ph.D., APRN, C-FNP, FAANP, concerning the American Osteopathic Association’s (AOA) recent statements recklessly opposing independent practice for non-physician health care providers to the benefit of its own membership.
“We’re disappointed, but frankly not surprised, that the AOA has chosen to expend its organizational resources to undermine patient choice and put the profits of its members ahead of the 84 million people who are living today in primary care shortage areas. It is disingenuous to suggest that the primary care access crisis will be solved only by physicians, many of whom are actively fleeing primary care in favor of high-income specialties. In contrast, the nurse practitioner (NP) workforce is experiencing double-digit growth, with three-quarters of the 248,000-member NP workforce choosing primary care. More than 50 years of research overwhelmingly demonstrates that NPs, in more than 1 billion patient visits annually, provide safe, high-quality care, equal to or better than physicians. States where NPs are prevented from independent licensure consistently rank among the poorest on health outcomes, access to primary care and geographic disparities in care.
“Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia, the US Federal Trade Commission, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and most recently, Congress through passage of the opioid law — along with highly regarded think tanks, from the American Enterprise Institute to Brookings — have spoken. Patients and our country deserve direct access to high-quality, NP-delivered health care, a choice of health care providers and a health care system free of artificial barriers designed to protect physicians from free-market competition. AANP will continue to advocate for patients and policies that support their health, including Full Practice Authority, retiring barriers to care, and the adoption of the Consensus Model for APRN licensure. We invite AOA to do the same.”
According to a statement, “The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 248,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NP patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care.”