The American Medical Association’s Kevin B. O’Reilly has analyzed a three year study on nurse practitioners (NPs) who deliver emergency care with out physician supervision or collaboration at the Veterans Health Administration.  The study finds that lengths of stay increased by 11 percent and 30-day preventable hospitalizations went up by 20 percent when compared to emergency physicians.

The study also shows that NPs increase the cost of ED care by 7 percent, or about $66 per patient.  Increasing the number of NPs on duty to decrease wait times raised total health care spending by 15 percent, or $238 per case.  That does not include the additional NP salaries. In all, assigning 25 percent of emergency cases to NPs results in net costs of $74 million annually to the VHA.

More on what sets this study apart and a deeper analysis is available here.