THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR YOUR PHYSICIAN
Scope of practice regulations were put in place as a means of protecting the public from health care providers administering care they are unqualified to provide based on their education and training. Yet, every year, health care professionals lobby the Louisiana Legislature to expand their scope of practice under the guise they are equally trained, qualified, and capable of taking care of our citizens.
There is no substitute for physicians.
Physicians, unlike any other health care provider, spend four years in medical school focusing on the entire human body and all of its systems-organ, endocrine, biomedical and more-before undertaking 3-7 additional years of residency training to further develop and refine their ability to safely evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage a patient’s full range of medical conditions and needs. In total, a physician undertakes between 12,000-16,000 hours of clinical education and training by the time he or she completes a residency program. This educational track includes all organ systems and the important aspects of preventive, acute, chronic, continuing, rehabilitative, and end-of-life care. In stark contrast, for example, nurse practitioners receive 2-4 years of training after nursing school totaling approximately 500-720 total patient hours. Physician assistants complete a two-year graduate degree curriculum and approximately 2,000 total patient hours.
There is no substitute for your physician.
There is absolutely no question about the value of team-based care. Nurse practitioners, physician assistants and other members of the health care team bring unique value to patient care, based on their education, skills, and training. However, the health care team must remain physician-led as that is the hallmark of quality care. No member of the team brings the same skill and depth of training as the physician. Eliminating this key requirement places the health of those who we serve at risk. Our patients deserve the highest quality and best care. That’s why nurse practitioners require a collaborative practice agreement with a physician as a condition of their practice model; while physician assistants work under the direct supervision of a physician.
There is no substitute for our physicians.
As our state looks to turn its economic prospects around, it should know the value of its physicians. We aren’t just there when you need us for medical attention. Physicians contribute to their neighbors’ well-being in ways that far outlast their treatment and care. This year, the American Medical Association and the Louisiana State Medical Society published a study that demonstrates the huge economic impact physicians have in the Louisiana. Physicians sustain local industries, support thousands of jobs, and generate billions of dollars in state revenue. In 2017, Louisiana physicians generated $20B in direct and indirect economic activity for the state. A strong Louisiana economy means a strong Louisiana community that can provide for its neighbors and sustain any harsh waves that may hit – whether natural or financial.
There is no substitute for Louisiana physicians.
Susan M. Bankston, MD