Nurse Practitioners as Primary Care Providers

From Fierce Healthcare:

Highmark is looking to hire nurse practitioners to serve as primary-care providers, the company announced this week.

The move comes just a few months after an Institute of Medicine report called for nurses to be allowed a broader scope of practice, much to the dismay of the American Medical Association, which warned that expanding nurses’ authority could endanger patients.

Highmark plans to tap into a pool of more than 200 nurse practitioners in Pennsylvania who have independent practices. The ones who are eligible to become “primary-care practitioners” must also be certified in another primary care field, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

The insurer also has designs on recruiting a broader base of NPs to its network. The news that such a big insurer will reimburse nurse practitioners as primary-care practitioners could help lure NPs from other states to Pennsylvania, Dr. Carey Vinson, Highmark’s VP of quality and medical performance management.

“Quit the RUC”

From Kaiser Health News:

Given the recent attention to the issue, it is possible — but unlikely — that CMS will move toward that approach. The professionals and organizations that benefit from the current structure will fight to maintain the status quo.

So we propose a radical action. Quit the RUC.

America’s primary care medical societies should loudly and visibly leave, while presenting evidence that the process has been unfair to their physicians and, worse, to American patients and purchasers. Primary care physicians have tried to change the process, but to no avail. Leaving would de-legitimize the RUC, paving the way for a new, more balanced process to supplant it.

In-Hospital Rescue


They’re calling it a miracle.

Two men trapped beneath heavy machinery, one escapes to call 911. The other, unable to free himself, remains pinned under thousands of pounds of weight for nearly two hours.

By the time rescuers freed him, his pulse had stopped. He suffers no serious internal injuries.

That was the scenario Wednesday at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, where the cool actions and well-executed teamwork of rescue workers turned a potentially disastrous story into a heroic one.