Nurse-managed centers may fill primary care physician void

NEW YORK With a current shortage of primary care physicians and some 30 million uninsured standing to gain healthcare coverage as a result of healthcare-reform legislation, finding a primary care doctor looks to become increasingly difficult. However, nurse-managed centers could be one solution, according to a USA Today article.

Monday’s article highlighted several “innovative programs” that offer a glimpse of what future primary care could look like and among them was a Philadelphia clinic where nurse practitioners, who have earned master’s or doctorate degrees and have trained in diagnosis and management of health problems, provide primary care services for patients.

Founded in 1992, the Family Practice and Counseling Network in Philadelphia offers primary care for all ages. Nurse practitioner Donna Torrisi helped found the clinic and was key in convincing state legislators to grant nurse practitioners prescribing authority and recognition as primary care providers, according to USA Today.

The network, supported by the nonprofit Resources for Human Development, serves public housing residents, the poor and the uninsured.

The network’s three sites garnered up to 60,000 patient visits during the past fiscal year. This year, Torrisi told USA Today that she expects that number to reach 70,000.

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