In the mix: The battle over the role of nurse practitioners

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, April 26, 2010

With a shortage of primary care physicians, and the possibility that healthcare reform will exacerbate the problem by increasing the number of people with insurance, many healthcare providers and experts—along with 28 states—are debating how nurse practitioners (NP) fit into the solution.

In Massachusetts, where universal healthcare has already been implemented, a law was passed in 2008 requiring health plans to recognize and reimburse NPs as primary care providers. Other states are considering similar laws. Some NPs with advanced degrees welcome the new role, even asking to be called "doctor" if they hold a doctorate.

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