There are valid reasons why physician is "captain of the ship"

LETTER — Posted March 21, 2005

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Regarding "NP: Physicians don't have a monopoly on concern over patient safety" (Letters, Feb. 28): I read the letter by David Kleberger, NP, Commerce City, Colo., regarding the nonphysician's role in health care with interest, as I am a supporter of ancillary health care professionals. But I must disagree with some of his points.

Mr. Kleberger says physicians' concerns over nonphysicians prescribing ability stems not from patient safety fears, but from economics. I would argue that it is economics that have allowed nonphysicians to prosper.

Specifically, less-expensive health care providers increase the bottom line. If an ER can be staffed with one MD/DO making $180,000 and five NP/PAs making $70,000, as opposed to six salaried doctors ... well, you do the math. Furthermore, an enterprising office physician can earn more from an NP/PA than if he hired another doc. Now that's economics for you.

Mr. Kleberger also states, regarding his education, that with "two bachelor's degrees, a master of science degree ... I think I'm perfectly capable of providing independent patient care." I must disagree. Just as three associate's degrees don't equal a bachelor's, a smattering of bachelor's and master's degrees don't equal a doctorate level degree.

Did we mention residencies? Social workers will never equal psychiatrists, and paralegals are not the same as lawyers, regardless of experience.

As stated earlier, I am a proponent of NP/PAs as partners in health care. But everyone should remember who is captain of the ship. More important, they should remember why.

Lee Morgentaler, DO, Blauvelt, N.Y.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/03/21/edlt0321.htm.

Back to top




Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn