How do you know an organization knows NOTHING about a subject? Click the big text and watch this video:
These people are insane. Twenty-one states have given the GIFT of primary care to their residents by allowing NP’s to practice independently. The veteran population has so far been denied the choice of a nurse practitioner as a primary care provider, and the VA is said to have long wait times. This is the obvious solution, and a choice I applaud the VA for making. And Fox News makes a skewed report that makes it look like *I* will be practicing primary care at the VA next month? “Nurses will have their roles expanded”. No. Highly trained Nurse Practitioners will be allowed to practice at the level twenty-one US states say they are able to practice. And now Veterans are ‘settling for a nurse’.
Be clear, the VA is taking no heat from me on the subject. I am a VA employee and I do not agree with some of their policies, but this one is spot on. I am a veteran and a nurse, and I would be totally OK with a nurse practitioner taking care of my primary care needs at the VA. As a matter of fact, I am now going to make it a point to register for VA health care. They take my insurance, and it would be extremely convenient to see someone in my building for primary care. Less sick time, less travel time, less wait time. Everyone wins, especially me.
Even if you are opposed to Nurse Practitioners privately practicing in standalone clinics, the VA is a wonderful environment for NP’s. There are all kinds of resources, and a physician is a phone call away. All specialties are represented, and the VA Nurse Practitioner can get patients in to see specialists when necessary, with seamless continuity of care. Patients get their medications from an in-house pharmacy, and the VA Pharmacist has access to the patient’s medical record if there is a question about the dosage or choice of a particular drug. This is the perfect situation for Nurse Practitioners; they are able to practice to their greatest ability, and they have backup. Everyone wins – Especially the patient.
What people do not seem to understand is that the VA is actually held to way HIGHER standards than the private sector. We are taking care of our veterans, to whom we owe our very lives, so this is appropriate. It may take you 3-4 months to get in to see a new Primary Care Physician in the private sector. The VA is required to get the new patient seen within thirty days. Not only that, but if we are unable to get patients seen within thirty days, we run the risk of being dragged through the mud on Fox News. In the private sector, nobody would be looking and the media would never be told about it. That is the difference between wait times in the private sector and the VA. Public knowledge.
I have seen ‘surveys’ of veterans who say they want care outside of the VA on the news. I want to meet these people and see how random the surveys were. As stated, I work for the VA. I have so far had one patient say they wanted to go outside the VA for their healthcare. The rest of them generally say something along these lines: “I know that I hear a lot of bad stuff about care at the VA, but i’ll tell you, they have always treated me great!” I have scheduled veterans who have insisted on driving four hours to our VA Hospital for a procedure, rather than having the procedure done close to their home because they TRUST the VA.
Odd how that happens.
Thank you, Secretary McDonald for allowing us to further improve VA healthcare by providing even greater access to primary care. Our veterans deserve it. Thank you for utilizing Nurse Practitioners to help veterans get the best care anywhere.
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