Starting next year, nurse practitioners in New York State will be able to operate more independently of doctors now that the Nurse Practitioners Modernization Act, approved as part of the state budget agreement, has removed the requirement of a written practice agreement between a nurse practitioner and a doctor as a condition of practice.
Seventeen other states and Washington, D.C., have already done this, according to a news report.
The New York State Medical Society and doctors groups oppose more independence for nurse practitioners. Patient safety and quality of care have been key concerns because nurse practitioners are not trained as much as doctors, the groups said.
But the news report says research suggests there’s little difference in the quality of care provided by nurse practitioners and doctors — and that is very troubling. I don’t know who that says more about. Should we, as consumers of medical care, be concerned about more primary care being assumed by nurse practitioners? Or should we be concerned that better trained, more highly educated medical doctors don’t provide any better care than the nurses who are supposed to work under them?
Nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe drugs and do many of the same things as doctors. A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with a master’s degree and training in a specialty area such as primary care.
In a prepared statement, Denis Tarrant, president of Nurse Practitioner Association of New York State, said the law “will ensure that New Yorkers will have access to high quality health care.”
To learn more about nurse practitioners, go to the association website.
Read more about the Nurse Practitioners Modernization Act here.
Thanks for reading,