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Ky. Voices: Improve access to health care, expand nurse practitioners' role

Thursday, March 21, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Melissa Moody
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March 21, 2013 (Lexington Herald-Leader) As health-care providers working in every corner of Kentucky, we see the patients behind the state's dire health statistics. Nationally, our state ranks among the very worst in cancer deaths, heart disease, strokes and high blood pressure. We also rank near the bottom — 36th — in the number of primary care physicians practicing in our state.

That's a bad combination, because good health is directly correlated to access to care.

And Kentucky indeed faces an acute primary care shortage. Right now, a nurse practitioner or nurse midwife is the only full-time primary care provider in many of the state's 87 medically underserved areas.

Clearly, we should be doing everything we can to expand and improve access to health care. Instead, a bureaucratic requirement is aggravating the shortage.


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