Monday, March 31, 2008

Invisibility

An article about the lack of physicians in rural upstate New York appears on the Albany Times Union website here, "An unhealthy situation for patients." Sadly, the utilization of nurse practitioners is not mentioned anywhere throughout the article.

Don't get me wrong, yes we need more physicians in rural areas. Though, how innovative would it be to effectively use a resource that already exists, is willing and more than capable of alleviating the health care burden, than nurse practitioners. Lawmakers need to recognize this and support barrier-free nurse practitioner practice along with the offering of similar services as those focused on physicians.

I hate to oversimplify things but according to my crude research: There are 19 physicians licensed in Schoharie county in upstate New York according to statistics from the State Education Department. There are 18 nurse practitioners licensed in the same county. If nurse practitioners were better utilized, the citizens of Schoharie county can essentially have their providers double without any additional resources. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

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