I originally wrote this article for HealtheCareers.
I remember the moment clearly. I received an email from one of my friends at the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners. The subject read: Must Read! The FTC Supports NPs! I remember laughing a little bit at the goofy rhyme. I opened the attached document titled,Competition and the Regulation of Advanced Practice Nurses. As I scanned the executive summary, I slowly began to realize the gravity of what I was reading. This publication was monumental.
A Monumental Report
In early March 2014, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published their policy perspective on laws pertaining to nurse practitioner’s (NP) independent practice. The FTC firmly asserted that proposals limiting NPs scope of practice unfairly limit competition in healthcare and ultimately do more harm than good. Since then, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners have supported the FTC’s position and urged legislators to follow their lead.
Scientific research has repeatedly demonstrated that NPs provide high-quality, safe, effective healthcare equivalent to physicians. Unfortunately, some states employ laws restricting an NPs ability to provide healthcare. What is so exciting about the FTCs report is that it focuses on the economic impact of unjust laws against NPs. The FTC is not a healthcare or medical organization, rather they are experts in competition, consumer protection, and economics.
What does the FTC say about NPs?
Their report on NPs investigates the healthcare industry and reviews all the previously published research on the effectiveness of NPs compared with physicians. Specifically, the FTC recognizes that competition in healthcare is better for patients: it reduces costs, improves quality, stimulates innovation, and expands access to care.
They also assert that research has and continues to demonstrate that NPs provide safe and effective healthcare within the scope of their education, certification, and licensure. When assessing current and proposed laws, the FTC urges state legislators and policy makers to consider the following principles.
Read my entire article on HealtheCareers.