The AAFP joined the AMA and a host of other national physician organizations — as well as 43 state medical societies and associations — in asking the Department of Veterans Affairs to rethink its ploy to mandate that all advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) within the VHA be designated as independent health care providers regardless of individual state regulations. Here are some highlights:
- The organizations argue that the nursing handbook, as drafted, “effectively eliminates physician-led, team-based care within the VHA system.”
- Furthermore, every team — be it in the business sector or sports-related — needs good leaders. Physicians, with their high level of training and preparation, are best positioned to serve as the leaders of health care teams.
- “APRNs are indispensable, but they can not take the place of a fully trained physician,” says the letter. Physicians provide complex diagnoses and develop treatment plans that address multiple organ systems. They are trained to both order and interpret tests related to a patient’s health condition.
- “APRNs and physicians have skills, knowledge and abilities that are not equivalent, but instead are complementary,” says the letter. “Taking a team-based approach to care can address much of the primary care demand within the VHA,” it concludes.
Well, it’s about time. This won’t go over well, by the way, with the supreme beings and the head honchos for the NPs. Wait until you see the fallout and screaming and then the AAFP will capitulate, apologize and give in.