Coalition Urges Lawmakers to Ensure and Encourage Access to Quality, Cost-Effective Care
Washington, D.C. (Vocus) December 16, 2009 -- For months, members of Congress have debated the best ways to rein in runaway costs while providing care to all as part of health care reform. An important part of the ongoing discussion includes how to ensure patients equal access to a full range of health care providers besides doctors of medicine (MDs) or osteopathy (DOs). In both the House and Senate versions of health reform bills, lawmakers have included language that rightly recognizes the importance of all types of health care providers. For example, the Senate bill includes grants for teams of health professionals that collaborate on patient care, ensuring access to a broad spectrum of providers.
Yet, as federal lawmakers demonstrate a growing understanding of the need to ensure patient access to these care providers, some state lawmakers are being aggressively lobbied to restrict patient access to health care professionals, such as advanced practice registered nurses, psychologists, naturopathic doctors and audiologists.
“There is an abundance of evidence that shows patients achieve equal or better health outcomes at lower cost to themselves and the health care system when they fully incorporate a range of health care professionals in their delivery system,” said Maureen Shekleton, PhD, RN, FAAN, a spokesperson for the Coalition for Patients’ Rights™ (CPR). CPR is comprised of more than 35 member organizations representing a variety of licensed health care professionals who provide a diverse array of safe, effective and affordable health care services to millions of patients each year.
There are numerous studies that show the high quality and cost-effectiveness of the care provided by professionals other than MDs/DOs. Collectively, these data substantiate the likelihood for more cost-effective care. Highlights include:
“These efforts to lobby lawmakers and regulators are not only wasteful and divisive, but do a disservice to the public who have been benefitting from the care of these practitioners for decades,” said Shekleton. “Our health care system is already overburdened with shortages of qualified practitioners. As the oldest professional health care society in the United States, the AMA should be fostering a collaborative environment that meets the needs of patients, not looking to restrict the practice of qualified licensed practitioners and trying to prevent patients from seeing the provider of their choice.”
CPR members are dedicated to achieving optimal health outcomes for patients in a cost-effective way. As policymakers address how to control costs and expand insurance coverage, it will be critical to include all qualified health care professionals. “Ensuring and promoting the rights of patients to choose this kind of care is good for patients and it’s good for our health care system overall,” said Shekleton. “If we can be prudent with our financial resources and still ensure good outcomes for patients - it’s a win-win situation that policymakers should support.”
About the Coalition for Patients’ Rights™
A national coalition of more than 35 organizations, the Coalition for Patients’ Rights represents more than three million licensed and certified health care professionals committed to ensuring comprehensive health care choices for all patients. It was formed in 2006 in response to divisive efforts by the Scope of Practice Partnership (SOPP), a coalition of medical and osteopathic physician organizations including the American Medical Association (AMA), which aims to limit the scopes of practice of other health care professionals.
The Coalition is comprised of a diverse array of health care professionals, including registered nurses, naturopathic doctors, psychologists, audiologists, physical and occupational therapists, advanced practice registered nurses (including certified registered nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists), optometrists and chiropractors.
For more information about the Coalition for Patients’ Rights™, visit www.patientsrightscoalition.org.
(1) Ettner, Kotlerman, Afifi, Vazirani, Hays, Shapiro, Cowan. 2006. Reducing the costs of patient care? A controlled trial of the Multi-Disciplinary Doctor-Nurse Practitioner (MDNP) model, Medical Decision Making, Jan-Feb; pp. 9-17.
(2) Herman PM, Szczurko O, Cooley K, et al. 2008. Cost-effectiveness of naturopathic care for chronic low back pain. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 14(2):32–39.
(3) Unutzer, J., W. J. Katon, et al. 2008. Long-term cost effects of collaborative care for late-life depression (Brief record). American Journal of Managed Care; Volume 95-100
(4) Corry M, Sakala C. 2008. Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve. Childbirth Connection and the Milbank Memorial Fund.
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