By Mike Lillis - 06/22/11 04:11 PM EDT
“These valued health care professionals play a central role in the delivery of primary care, particularly in medically underserved areas, and are essential to the coordination of team-based care.”
Under current law, physician assistants and nurse practitioners can prescribe nursing home care for Medicare seniors, but they can't order home care, which requires a physician's stamp of approval.
Walden said that's an unfair stipulation, especially in rural parts of the country where physicians are often few and far between. In those spots, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, clinical nurse specialists and midwives are "essential components" of healthcare delivery to seniors, he said.
"Not only are they serving on the front lines of primary care, but also in many areas they are the only option readily available," Walden said.
Schwartz has introduced similar legislation in the last two Congresses. The most recent version, introduced Tuesday, has been endorsed by 28 members, including Schwartz and Walden.