Mass. law equates NPs with primary care docs

December 19, 2008

An amendment to the Massachusetts law that requires all residents to maintain health insurance includes several provisions that appear to equate nurse practitioners with primary care doctors.

An amendment to the Massachusetts law that requires all residents to maintain health insurance includes several provisions that appear to equate nurse practitioners with primary care doctors.

Faced with an additional 439,000 formerly uninsured residents obtaining coverage (it was mandated as of July 1, 2007), the state is facing a critical shortage of primary care physicians and an increase in emergency department crowding, the state's medical society says.

The law includes a line that the participating nurse practitioners must work in "collaboration with a physician," a condition that is acceptable to Ted Epperly, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. "It doesn't [concern me] as long as they're part of a team," he says of nurse practitioners serving as primary care providers. "Collaboration is the key piece for us."