Poll: Americans support greater access to NP care

More than 60 percent of Americans believe nurse practitioners (NPs) should receive more freedom in the healthcare services they provide, such as ordering diagnostic tests or prescribing medication without physician supervision, according to a new survey.

The survey, commissioned by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and conducted by the Mellman Group, found that:

  • Seventy percent of Americans support legislation to remove obstacles to patients choosing NPs. Seventy-two percent said they favored such legislation, while 55 percent said they strongly favored it.

  • Two-thirds of respondents said they "strongly support" allowing NPs to provide more Medicare services, such as home care and long-term care, while 85 percent support such a proposal. The strongest support for the idea comes from those who received NP services.

  • Sixty-two percent of respondents favored eliminating rules that require NPs to work under the supervision of a physician. NPs already have full-practice authority in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

  • Eighty percent of respondents have either seen an NP or know someone who has, while more than 50 percent have a family member who has seen one.  

"These results clearly confirm what we have known anecdotally for years: American health care consumers trust NPs and want greater access to the safe, effective services they provide," said Ken Miller, co-president of AANP, in the survey announcement. "This is no surprise given that NP patients have health care outcomes that are consistent with those of physicians, and that patients consistently, and increasingly, prefer NPs as their primary health care provider."

The survey's findings are supported by a June study which indicated the majority of patients would rather see a physician assistant or NP immediately than wait for a physician, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the survey announcement