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American Academy of Family Physicians Report Misses the Mark

Earlier this week, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) released a report entitled Primary Care For The 21st Century: Ensuring A Quality, Physician-Led Team For Every Patient.

One of the major issues in the report is the question of who should lead the primary care team – physician or Nurse Practitioner. With the enormous task ahead of us to reform our health care system including support for the Patient Centered Primary Care Home, the AAFP report is very disappointing and petty. It is unworthy of the relationship which Oregon NPs have established with their physician colleagues over the past 30 years. All health care professionals are obligated to seek consultation when their expertise is not sufficient to address the needs of their patients or to double check their conclusions when they are unsure. In Oregon, NPs have a long history with "independent" practice which does not mean that they practice or desire to practice in isolation. They welcome team based care and support our efforts to support primary care through the Patient Centered Primary Care Home. Not "medical home” as many would say.

At the heart of care provided by all of us is the patient. If we keep this firmly in mind, we can avoid the bias that characterizes this report.

Susan King MS, RN Executive Director, Oregon Nurses Association


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