As you can tell by your paycheck, NP’s make a great living, however they are not paid as highly as physicians. Obviously, then there must be some cost savings associated with nurse practitioners providing healthcare over physicians. How much money do nurse practitioners save our country?
The National Nursing Centers Consortium provides facts and figures concerning healthcare savings associated with nurse practitioners. The NNCC reports that:
- The average cost of a patient visit with a nurse practitioner is 20% less than a visit to a physician
- The State of Massachusetts believes it can save anywhere from $4.2 to $8.4 billion dollars over a 10 year period by increasing the use of nurse practitioners
- Patients treated by nurse practitioners have higher rates of generic medication fills at pharmacies and lower rates of hospitalizations when compared to other healthcare providers
Those opposing the increased use of and independent practice of nurse practitioners state that despite these savings, NP’s don’t provide the same quality of care as physicians. They express concern that increased use of nurse practitioners will result in poorer patient outcomes. This is not true. A study by JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) found that when patients who were seen by a physician were compared to those seen by a nurse practitioner no significant difference was found in the health status of the two groups. In fact, nurse practitioners showed better outcomes than physicians in treating patients with hypertension.
The bottom-line? Nurse practitioners save our country money. We have equal or better outcomes in patient care than physicians and can provide this care in a cost effective manner. Keep up the good work!