Funding Physician Medical Education

Each year, more than $15 billion of taxpayers’ money is spent to support physicians in residency training. About one-third of this amount comes from Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Health Resources and Services Administration. The remaining nearly $10 billion flows through the Medicare program, primarily to academic medical centers via a complex…

Dr. Wal-Mart

CVS’s Minute Clinic isn’t the only game in town for quick primary care visits anymore.  Wal-Mart is getting into the primary care game with $40 office visits with nurse practitioners.  MSN Money reports: Wal-Mart is making its long-awaited move into delivering primary care: The retailer has quietly opened half a dozen primary care clinics across South Carolina and Texas…

Scope of Practice for NPs and PAs

This blog has been a proponent of increased use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to reduce the cost of health care.  However, do they really reduce the cost of care?  On the one hand, NPs and PAs cost less than physicians.  On the other hand, if patients must visit an NP/PA and then a…

The Growth of Nonphysician Clinicians

If you are an avid reader of this blog, you’ve heard about nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs).  What you might not know is how they popularity has grown over the past decade.  A paper by Strange (2013) cites the following statistics: With more than 85,000 PAs and 150,000 NPs eligible to practice, their…

Nurse Practitioner Popularity Grows

Patients generally prefer physicians to nurse practitioners (NP) or physicians assistants (PA) assuming a visit to either costs the same.  However, what happens when one takes into account waiting times? A paper by Dill et al. (2013) reveals the following: Respondents were given a choice between seeing a physician assistant or nurse practitioner today or a physician…

Why become a doctor?

On The Health Care Blog (THCB), Dr. Vineet Arora argues that being a doctor is not as attractive as it once was. She writes: After all, why go into this much debt and spend so much time in training if your prospects are not much better? More recently, the New York Times article points out…

Nurse anesthetists: To Reimburse or Not to Reimburse?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently approved reimbursing nurse anesthetists for care provided to Medicare beneficiaries. Critics say it jeopardizes patient safety, while supporters say it extends health care to pain patients who are often underserved by the medical community. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) (unsurprisingly) applauds the decision. Janice…