NPs as an Underutilized Resource for Health Reform - Evidence-based Demonstrations of Cost-effectiveness
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Healthcare reform in 2009 was motivated by an imperative to reduce the relentless increase in spending on medical care. Many efforts to solve the problem focused on applying proven principles of evidence-based practice and cost-effectiveness to find the least-expensive way to produce a specific clinical service of acceptable quality. This paper combines economic analysis and reviews published literature to show how the goals of healthcare reform can be accomplished by allowing independently licensed nurse practitioners to provide their wide range of services directly to patients in a variety of clinical settings. The paper presents extensive, consistent evidence that nurse practitioners provide care of equal or better quality at lower cost than comparable services provided by other qualified health professionals.
*Jeffrey C. Bauer, PhD, is an internationally recognized medical economist and health futurist. He has published over 180 articles and books on the health industry, including numerous economic analyses of input substitution as a key to reducing costs and improving quality in medical care delivery. With a career that includes 17 years as a professor of statistics and research at two medical schools and service as health policy adviser to a state governor, he is now a Chicago-based partner in management consulting and leader of the futures practice for Affiliated Computer Services (ACS, Inc.).
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