To the Editor:
Reading the letters in the February 1999 issue, I was interested to see that all the letters from nurse practitioners were supportive of team collaborative practice and all but one from physicians were disparaging about nurse practitioners. Most nurse practitioners work in a collaborative team practice with physicians and want to continue to do so. I am disappointed that the physician community continues to erect barriers to nurse practitioner practice even though there has been no attempt to change the requirement for collaboration. The states that have independent practice were legislated that way from the beginning.
I was disappointed with AAFP President Lanny Copeland's response in FPM. I have not seen any data that support his position that “using nurse practitioners as the first point of contact with previously undiagnosed patients is actually more expensive due to their extensive use of subspecialty referrals.” These strong, negative, polarizing statements hinder our ability to work together.
Most nurse practitioners and physicians who work together have mutual respect for each other's strengths. Why can't we, as organizations representing our disciplines, get along as well as we can individually in practice? There are millions of Americans without health care. Working together, we can be part of the solution.