To the Editor:
Providers? I thought we were physicians.
“The Emergence of Consumer-Driven Health Care” [January 2000], by Norman Vinn, DO, is a good article, and I strongly believe that market-driven health care will benefit both patients and physicians. I was distracted, however, by the author's repeated use of the word “provider” where I assumed he was talking about physicians.
Proliferation of that word is part of a managed care strategy to place nurse practitioners, physician assistants, optometrists and other non-physician groups in the same class as physicians. It's AMA and AAFP policy not to use the word “provider” when referring to physicians, and I hope this is taken into account in future AAFP-sponsored literature.
I was in no way trying to suggest that physicians and nonphysicians are equal in their training or skills. Rather, the point of the article was that anyone who provides patient care — family physicians, other specialists and midlevel providers — should be focusing on service excellence.