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End the duopoly

State limits on non-physician health care workers block access for patients in need | Expert Opinion

In this Tuesday, June 16, 2020, photo, nurses work in a COVID-19 ward of the Shohadaye Tajrish Hospital in Tehran, Iran. After months of fighting the coronavirus, Iran only just saw its highest single-day spike in reported cases after Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that celebrates the end of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi) Vahid Salemi / AP Coronavirus has once again proved that health care workers are there for us when we need them and deserve our respect and admiration. A recent Washington Post article states that at least 450,000 health care workers have been infected by COVID-19 worldwide. Sadly, hundreds have died.

As the strain on the United States health care system mounted, policymakers responded by loosening restrictions on practicing across states and taking other actions to extend the reach of non-physician providers, like nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacists. Politicians and policymakers are right to praise the heroic actions of our frontline health care workforce, but we need to make sure that support continues when the crisis ends.

The truth is that there was a provider shortage and access gap before the pandemic, and there will be going forward. Last April, the Association of American Medical Colleges stated the U.S. […]

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