Date: July 17, 2015
Chuck Moran For Immediate Release
Pennsylvania Medical Society
A recent statement from Sen. Pat Vance and published in the Central Penn Business Journal has prompted the Pennsylvania Medical Society to respond and clarify the facts. The following is a statement from Karen Rizzo, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society and a practicing physician in Lancaster.
The recent quote by Pennsylvania Senator Pat Vance in the July 16 edition of CPBJ Extra in which she claims a disagreement between physicians and nurse practitioners is a “turf war” misstates the position of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. In fact, the position of the Medical Society is to avoid turf wars by keeping the health care team together and continuing to support physician and nurse practitioner collaboration across the state.
The fact is that it is the leadership of Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and their supporters, not mainstream nurse practitioners, who want to create a turf war by allowing nurse practitioners to practice medicine independently and eliminate the collaborative agreement required with the physician members of their healthcare team.
Pennsylvanians know that keeping the team together is a good idea. Earlier in 2015, a poll of 700 Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly indicated the state’s residents do not support current legislative efforts in Harrisburg to allow nurse practitioners to work without physician collaboration, suggesting such efforts are out of touch with most Pennsylvanian residents. The Patient Poll, conducted March 6-12, 2015, by Susquehanna Polling and Research and commissioned by the Pennsylvania Medical Society, indicates only 15 percent of those polled believe nurse practitioners should be allowed to practice independent of physicians.
The Medical Society’s position is not about turf, but it is about patient safety and training. There is a tremendous educational difference between a physician and a nurse practitioner. A 2007 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners stated that 51 percent of nurse practitioners surveyed reported that their training programs had made them “only somewhat or minimally prepared to practice.” Only 10 percent of nurse practitioners felt that they were “very well prepared” for actual practice after finishing their basic training. A more recent study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015, further proves this lack of confidence as NPs tend to order more diagnostic tests than physicians; wasting valuable health care dollars and driving up costs to consumers.
The fact being missed by advocates for independent practice is that the best and safest way to provide patient care is through collaboration and teams, not independent of one another. It is not about turf; it is about teams.
# # #