Have you ever made an appointment to see your doctor and ended up seeing a nurse practitioner? This is happening at an alarming rate in the medical community. Doctors are able to bill for more and more patients without ever even seeing the patient by simply hiring a nurse practitioner, paying her less than a physician, and reaping the benefits of double billing the patient or insurance company for the nurse’s time and the doctor’s time. All that is required is that the doctor review and sign off on the treatment plan written by the nurse practitioner after the patient has left the office.
This is bad for the patient, especially one who has an undiagnosed problem that needs a trained physician to search for an answer. Nurse practitioners simply are not trained like a physician, and they are not an adequate replacement for a physician in many circumstances.
In obstetrics, the midwife has routinely taken the place of the doctor in the delivery room, unless there is a recognized high risk problem that necessitates a doctor’s presence, But if a complication arises during delivery, there can be crucial time delays before a doctor can be summoned into the delivery room to treat a patient that is not familiar who is in an emergency situation.
Many conditions are sometimes hard to detect and diagnose. Nurse practitioners are not even trained on some serious medical conditions because they are not diagnosticians, they are treaters of a known condition. Some physicians have even gone so far as “signing off” on nurse practitioners offices without having ever met or practiced medicine in the office. They simply receive an email and add their signature to the treatment plan.
This practice of using nurse practitioners should be regulated by the legislature. The next time you make an appointment with a doctor, you should insist on seeing the doctor personally. If you can’t, find another doctor. Patients are not pawns. You should be in control of your medical care.
If you've suffered an injury as a result of a nurse practioner's negligence or malpractice, contact us today!