New legislation being proposed in Missouri could give nurse practitioners the ability to provide care without the oversight of a physician. Some are for the legislation as it would help with the patient coverage issue, and others say it will break down team-based coverage. The legislation introduced in Missouri would end the formal supervision currently required between a physician and nurse practitioner.
Sixteen other states currently allow independent practice as they have faced the same challenge that Missouri is trying to resolve, providing quality healthcare to a growing population. Thousands of people are showing up in the emergency room because they don’t have a primary care doctor and need some sort of healthcare service. According to the article, by 2014, another half-million Missourians will look for primary care, and “country doctors” are in short supply.
NPs see themselves as a possible way to help solve the primary care coverage issue. If more states approve independent coverage, it’s likely that nurse practitioner career opportunities will increase, but will it happen fast enough to fill the primary care void?
For an in-depth look at the approach to team-based care and the issues surrounding it, check out CompHealth’s webinar that I hosted along with Therus Kolff, MD, MPH.