Nurse practitioner groups merge, seek increased caregiving role

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The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American College of Nurse Practitioners announced recently the groups would merge, effective Jan. 1, 2013. The new American Association of Nurse Practitioners will have a membership of 40,000.

And the group would like to wield its influence on the formation of future caregiving models.

"The nation can fill the primary-care gap through the continuing transition to team-based care in medical homes, with all health professionals playing valuable and appropriate roles. Studies show the ideal practice ratio of NPs to physicians is approximately 4-to-1," the AAFP said in the report.

Physicians, unsurprisingly, are not keen on the idea. The American Academy of Family Physicians released a 26-page report largely rebutting the ideas of expanded use of nurse practitioners. It resists allowing non-physician providers leading primary-care practices or taking on certain other expanded roles. Training and education levels are simply too different, say physicians, who have proposed new team-based care models, which allow for increased use of nurse practitioners and other staff.

“Today's healthcare environment demands more efficiency and innovation as we look to control costs and improve outcomes,” said Jill Olmstead, President of the American College of Nurse Practitioners. “This consolidation exemplifies how collaboration and future-forward thinking can bring about positive changes across the health care spectrum.”

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