The news is shifting away from health care reform. Speculation is even starting to wind down a bit. Maybe now we can get down to the nuts and bolts, the real practical aspects of healthcare and what the new legislation means for both patients and providers. In a recent discussion between physicians, it was noted that the 32 million people (who are expected to join the ranks of the insured in just under a decade,) are not new patients. They exist right now, get ill and need treatment already. They’re just not getting it in efficient or conventional ways.

That’s a good thing. Our system is already overburdened, so adding 32 million new patients would be untenable, if they were actually new patients. But our country still needs more physicians and more access to health care providers. But prospects are less than glowing; there are few good reasons for new people to take on the rigors of med school so they can join the ranks of doctors already not being paid anywhere near enough to get the job done.

Enter one part of the solution: Nurse Practitioners. Let’s face facts. We can’t get the job done with things as they stand. More to the point, there’s often little need for Little Joey’s sniffles to be treated by a physician. A Nurse Practitioner who has been properly trained in the warning signs of diseases and disorders of higher consequences can handle the sniffles just fine. Same with routine Type-2 diabetic care. Even a newly diagnosed diabetic is likely to be getting the education from support sources other than the primary physician, and it certainly doesn’t take a M.D. to prescribe basics for a textbook Type-2 diabetic. Lacking contraindication, prescribe the Metformin now, draw blood for the labs, deal with other symptoms as is appropriate. High blood pressure? Cholesterol? Deal with them as they come up. Not sure? Check with your supervising MD PRN. A NP means dozens more patients get the treatment they need every day. Access is greatly improved, at a fraction of the cost. Seems like a winning solution all the way around.

Health care reform has many facets. The government is only going to tend to a few of them. The rest is up to us, and it is we in the medical community who must take the lead. Though we didn’t have a place at the table during health care reform legislation talks, the fact remains that the medical profession can determine the future of medicine, if we take the initiative and lead.

They say charity starts at home. Taking the initiative starts at home as well.

Medical Malpractice suits, Internet defamation of character, unwarranted demands for refunds? You don’t need to wait for the government to provide tort reform to begin protecting your practice. If you’re a health care provider and not already a member of Medical Justice, you should be. Take steps to protect yourself and your practice from baseless medical malpractice suits. Be proactive, in your practice and in its defense. Contact Medical Justice today!