Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, October 24, 2005

Can Nurse Practitioners Help Reduce Medical Costs?

That's a pretty silly question, isn't it? Of course they can. There are many aspects of health care that can be provided at lower cost by nurse practitioners than by MDs. [see Phil Miller's take on this, for example]. So why don't we see more nurse practitioners in Canada?

In this lengthy, but insightful and well-informed piece, Brian Ferguson explains the situation. Here is a brief excerpt from his piece:

There is a way to bring NPs into our health care system, and to do it quickly and relatively easily. It won't happen, because it involves letting the market work...

[I]n the real world of Canadian health care policy, all that will happen is that we will continue to fall further and further behind the US in the use of NPs and the like. We'll have endless meetings whose participants do nothing but bicker, and we'll produce lots and lots more glossy reports saying that NPs would be a really valuable addition to our heath care system and that the stakeholders will be getting together to try and figure out how to integrate them into Medicare .....................

And we'll continue to have a shortage of providers of primary care, and those of our nurses who would make really good NPs will go to the US, where the market says they're highly valued. But at least we'll still have a publicly run health care system, and ultimately, that's all that matters, isn't it.
To his credit, my family physician works with a nurse practitioner.
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