AMA Counters Proposal to Put Nurse Practitioners, Anesthetists on Par with Physicians

The AMA disagrees with a new Institute of Medicine report that would give advanced practice nurses such as nurse practitioners and anesthetists basically the same reimbursements and perhaps even the same scope of practice as physicians, according to a release by the AMA.

To meet a growing shortage of caregivers, the report said CMS should reimburse advanced practice nurses at the same rate as physicians and calls on the FTC to make sure state laws and rules limiting nurses' scope of practice aren't anti-competitive.

Rebecca Patchin, MD, RN, an AMA board member, said, "increasing the responsibility of nurses is not the answer to the physician shortage." Instead of substituting nurses for physicians, he AMA called for a "physician-led team approach."

Dr. Patchin, an anesthesiologist and former practicing nurse, noted that physicians have much more education and training than nurses. While physicians have seven or more years of clinical training, amounting to more than 10,000 hours, "most nurse practitioners have just two to three years of postgraduate education and less clinical experience than is obtained in the first year of a three year medical residency," she said.

Patients recognize the difference, the AMA added, pointing to a new study showing 80 percent of Americans expect to see a physician in the ED and more than half of those surveyed would be willing to wait two more hours to see a physician.

The IOM report also calls for the establishment of residency training programs for nurses, an increase in the nurses who get at least a bachelor's degree and an increase the number of PhD nurses.

Read the AMA release on nurses.

Read the Institute of Medicine report on nurses.

Read more on nurses:

-Federal Study Shows RN Workforce Growing, but High Proportion Nearing Retirement

-Survey of Opinion Leaders Suggests Nurses Should Have More Influence in Healthcare Decision Making

-Nursing Shortage Improves as a Result of the Economy

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