Nurse Practitioners (NPS) hold a master's in Nursing. They also undergo more training than the typical Registered Nurse (RN). However, they are physicians and do not have the same medical training or education as Medical Doctors (MD). Recently, news broke that NPS was lobbying to the legislature to pass a bill that would allow them to work autonomously without MD supervision. In this article, we will be discussing how this could impact the hair transplant industry.
What Does This Mean For The Hair Transplant Industry?
In the United States, it is illegal to have surgery performed by Nurses, Physicians Assistants, and NPS. An MD must be the only cutting open any tissue or suturing up a surgical incision. However, if this bill passes, it may become a loophole for some NPS to begin performing hair transplant surgeries since they would be allowed to work independently and treat patients without supervision.
Dr. Suhail Khokhar, hair loss forum member, had this to say: "Eventually, Nurse Practitioners will want to perform cosmetic procedures independently, including hair transplants. The intent of expanding autonomy for NPS was to allow them to practice in underserved settings. But instead of practicing in underserved areas, Nurse Practitioners are staying put and trying to work independently in already well-served areas. Nurse Practitioners don't have the same amount of education, training, or experience as physicians."
What Can Nurse Practitioners Do Currently?
Current law allows NPS to diagnose patients, order tests, write prescriptions, and manage patient's care. However, only routine treatment such as colds, minor aches, and pains; anything comprehensive like surgery goes to physicians. In some areas, where there is a significant language barrier between physicians and patients, it may allow for quicker access to care. It may improve healthcare for a large portion of the population.
The bill already passed the state assembly and moved to the senate. The vote was an astonishing 61 to 1. It seems that it is only a matter of time until Nurse Practitioners are allowed to work independently from physicians; the general appeal is affordability. In the field of hair restoration, there is already a large portion of physicians who practice in Europe, Asia, and the middle east who have unlicensed technicians who carry out most of the hair transplant procedure. In some cases, these technicians work with minimal doctor supervision.
While there is a legitimate concern about Nurse Practitioners opening their own "aesthetic" clinics under regulatory loopholes, it will not get as bad as countries like Turkey- in the US. While yes, Nurse Practitioners have less training, education, and experience than physicians, they are still medically trained. How will this affect the hair transplant industry, it could reduce the cost, which could affect medical tourism; only time will tell.
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