Blog | Wednesday, April 14, 2010

QD: News Every Day--'Dr. Nurse' will see you now

Nurse practitioners are demanding a wider scope of practice and even to be called "doctor" if they have a doctorate. And 28 states are considering giving them what they want, to which physician societies object. Health policy analyst Jack Needleman, (a PhD, so he gets to be called doctor, too) says the quality of care is the same. (He's also an honorary fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.) AMA president-elect and internist Cecil B. Wilson, MD, a Master of the American College of Physicians, (who is definitely called doctor) says the primary care shortage is a call for more physicians, not for fewer.

But it's not just the dependent practitioners breathing down primary care's neck. CVS announced it will double its number of retail clinics and expand the range of services from acute, episodic care to screening and even chronic illnesses. Walgreen and Wal-Mart are increasing their numbers of clinics, too.

And another health analyst said that as primary care pay approaches specialty pay levels, specialists will take on more primary care duties.

Suddenly, everyone is rushing to get back into primary care.