The Physician and Nurse Practitioner Debate Continues

July 23, 2013 AAFP, News Staff – During a recent webinar on scope-of-practice issues, AAFP President-elect Reid Blackwelder, M.D., of Kingsport, Tenn., and the executive director of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) agreed that team-based, coordinated care services are the most effective means of achieving improvements in patient care, enhancing access and controlling costs. But Blackwelder also noted that “each member of the (health care) team has unique but not interchangeable skills.”

“The discussion should not be about turf, but about how we ensure that members of the care team work can work together with clearly defined and distinct roles to improve patient outcomes,” said Blackwelder during the July 17 webinar(, which was conducted by the Alliance for Health Reform and sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

“Surveys show that patients overwhelmingly want coordinated team approaches to their health care needs, with a physician leader,” said Blackwelder. Although NPs are critical members of the health care team, they “cannot provide the same level of comprehensive care provided by primary care physicians.”

However, AACN Executive Director Geraldine “Polly” Bednash, R.N., Ph.D., challenged Blackwelder’s assertion that physicians need to be at the heart of the health care team, saying, “I think leaders and teams can change from time to time; it depends on what the demands for care are.”

READ FULL STORY for Dr. Blackwelders response.

The AAFP represents more than 110,000 family physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students across the nation. Visit the website for more information about their mission and vision for the future of family medicine.

About Concierge Medicine Journal

Concierge Medicine Journal (CMJ) curates breaking concierge medicine news, and editorial opinion on a wide variety of topics relevant to the practice of Concierge Medicine.

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