"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Educating the Patient Part Two

The next area of focus has to be the mid-level practitioner.  I am now getting calls from patients and their family members about the care that they are receiving from a physician's assistant or a nurse practitioner.  I hear "Why should I have to pay this bill, I never saw a doctor."  When I ask if the care was appropriate, they respond, "I guess so, but I never saw a real doctor." 

Physician's assistants or PAs work directly under the supervision of a physician.  So, for example, if you visit our Rapid Medical Evaluation area in our Emergency Department and you are cared for by a PA, he or she is consulting with a physician regarding every aspect of your care. 

In Maryland, nurse practitioners are licensed to practice without any physician supervision.  These individuals are well trained and will be practicing in primary care offices in our community in the near future.  Soon, you will be seen by a nurse practitioner for your primary care needs.  This change allows WMHS to provide greater access for patients who have been unable to see a physician due to a shortage of primary care docs in our area and across the country.

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