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Sound off

LAST WEEK’S QUESTION:

Should medical workers, such as nurse practitioners and dental hygienists, have more primary-care responsibilities as defined under Pennsylvania’s new health-care law? Why or why not?

LAST WEEK’S QUESTION:

Should medical workers, such as nurse practitioners and dental hygienists, have more primary-care responsibilities as defined under Pennsylvania’s new health-care law? Why or why not?

YES – 58 percent

NO – 42 percent

YES: “In most of the rest of the world, these folks already do far more than they do in the U.S. … and well.”

—Thomas Roy,

Lancaster County

YES: “I believe this positive change would enable more patients to be taken care of easier for routine things such as cleaning of teeth and examining the entire mouth for cavities or other problems. As it is now, the hygienist cleans and examines the teeth, takes X-rays and talks about good hygiene. The dentist then comes in and does a quick ‘look see’ and leaves. I believe that in the instance of a problem in one of the teeth that the dentist should then talk to the patient. It seems redundant to have the dentist inspect the teeth after the hygienist has done all the work. As for a nurse practitioner, I believe that a physical exam could be completed by such a person. If all is well, the person could leave. If there is a problem, then the doctor should be consulted. As it is now, the nurse practitioner examines a person and writes all the prescriptions for the doctor to sign. The laws requiring a physician to do this just makes the process take longer, but it is necessary to be within the law. I think it is time for the laws in Pennsylvania to change as other states to permit more people to be served in this manner.”

—Janice R. Black,

Dauphin County

NO: “Medical workers should not have more primary-care responsibilities unless patients are charged less for their services. If patients are paying doctor rates, then they should see a doctor and not a practitioner.”

—Denise Keller,

Lancaster County

NO: “This leaves me deeply concerned. The selection process for doctors and dentists is quite rigorous and not only involves many years of training, but just getting into the medical schools suggests a greater degree of intellect than the average person. I think that allowing persons, while highly skilled in their profession, to perform certain procedures while they do not possess the sharp intellect of a physician is doing a disservice to the patient. There are certain procedures that are somewhat distasteful to many physicians — digital rectal examinations comes to mind. These may fall to the nurse practitioner or to a physician’s assistant. I’m sorry, but I would want a person with significant experience and the mental capacity to spot possible problems in such a procedure and not just go through the motions. I do not think that this can be done with the level of training that would be given to others than the physicians.”

—Bob Michelson,

Dauphin County

THIS WEEK’S QUESTION:

Should tolls be added to Interstate 80? Why or why not?

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