KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Nurses Push For Bigger Role Gets Powerful Ally; Va. Tries To Retain Docs They Train

Kaiser Health News: Nurses clamoring for a larger role in providing care for Americans got a powerful ally in the Institute of Medicine Tuesday as the institute released a report empowering nurses. "The Institute of Medicine report says nurses should take on a larger and more independent role in providing health care in America, something many doctors have repeatedly opposed, citing potential safety concerns. It calls for states and the federal government to remove barriers that restrict what care advanced practice nurses - those with a master's degree - provide and includes many examples of nurses taking on bigger responsibilities. … The new federal health care law provides more funding for nursing education and nurse-led clinics, but this study could also propel the nurses' argument for more authority to deliver care independently from physicians." Such "scope of practice" considerations are the source of significant tension between doctors and nurses around America in who provides what care to which patients (Villegas and Carey, 10/5).

The Roanoke (Va.) Times reports that Virginia "medical education leaders say graduate medical education programs are one way to attract a strong physician work force throughout the state. In Southwest Virginia, Carilion and others have sought to establish more of these programs as they look to attract more doctors to the region, and in particular to medically underserved areas. It's just one part of a larger effort to get ahead of an anticipated shortage of physicians in the next two decades. … The majority of doctors who complete a residency program in Virginia end up practicing elsewhere. Nationally, nearly 48 percent of practicing physicians work in the same state where they completed their residency training program. In Virginia, it's only 29 percent, according to a report by the Virginia Department of Health Professions" (Bruyn Jones, 10/5).

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