Mayo-Franciscan physician: Training NPs to perform circumcisions could save millions in healthcare costs

Dennis Costakos, MD, neonatology chairman at Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse, Wis., argues that training neonatal nurse practitioners to perform circumcisions could save millions in healthcare costs, according to an article in the La Crosse Tribune.

Dr. Costakos came to this conclusion after conducting a 10-month study with a registered nurse and several NNPs. For the study — published in November 2016 in the journal Neonatology Today — physicians trained NNPs to perform circumcisions. During the study period, NNPs performed the surgery on 198 infants.

The practice can reportedly save hospitals money due to the around the clock availability of NNPs to perform the procedure, which can result in earlier releases and lower cost. The practice would also free up physicians to care for other patients, thereby improving efficiency, and reduce the salary expenses of the procedure due to the salary differences between NNPs and physicians.

The study cites hourly compensation for healthcare specialties:
• $53.74 for a neonatal nurse practitioner.
• $94.41 for a pediatrician.
• $115.65 for a family practitioner.
• $140.38 for a neonatologist.
• $167.16 for an obstetrician.
• $247.96 for a urologist.

Dr. Costakos said if every hospital in the U.S. switched to NNPs for the procedure, professional fees could be reduced by $105 million over ten years, according to the La Crosse Tribune,

"The market catches up eventually, and it would be a free market solution," Dr. Costakos told the La Crosse Tribune in and interview. "It's like the big, expensive TVs that are cheaper now — eventually, the savings spread."

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