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Published On: Wed, Jan 4th, 2017

How Geriatric Nurses Can Offset the Cost of Eldercare

Healthcare is in crisis, make no mistake about it. Not only is Obamacare failing, but this country was in trouble long before the Affordable Care Act, which is why it was instituted in the first place. Unfortunately, it was doomed from the start because rules and regulations were the result of lobbyists from the big insurance companies and even they couldn’t have imagined how much money they would eventually start losing, or the height at which deductibles and premiums would rise to for the average working Joe.

Added to those miseries is the fact that a huge portion of the population is already reaching senior years, and in the coming years that number will rise exponentially. It only takes a quick look at the cost of providing medical care for the elderly to understand that the crisis will keep expanding until there may come a time when the cost of care can’t be covered at all. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that light is in the form of a geriatric nurse practitioner.

image by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from Flickr Creative Commons.

A Comparison of Salaries

The reason why geriatric nurse practitioner degrees can offset the cost of eldercare is logical if you stop to compare the salaries of a geriatric specialist medical doctor and a geriatric nurse practitioner. Bear in mind that nurse practitioners can prescribe medications, diagnose and really do just about everything a medical doctor can do, but only under the supervision of a licensed doctor. The average salary for a geriatric doctor is approximately $190,000 per year, and for graduates from geriatric nurse practitioner programs, it is somewhere between $73,630 and $112,139 according to payscale.com.

One Doctor plus Several NPs

Now then, the reason why comparing those salaries is so important is because you are not looking at a 1:1 ratio. One doctor can have several geriatric nurse practitioners under him or her, which would increase the savings that much more. If an eldercare facility had one doctor and four geriatric nurse practitioners on staff as opposed to five doctors, you can see how that would add up to a big saving of potentially half a million dollars a year. That’s huge in the scheme of things. Now multiply that across the country and it makes sense how geriatric nurse practitioners can significantly offset the high cost of eldercare.

The truth of the matter is, there isn’t a sector within healthcare that isn’t in crisis at the moment due to high costs and a shortage of licensed medical professionals. Not only is there a lack of licensed doctors and nurses, especially specialists, but budgets aren’t there to hire them even if enough were available. In the end, if one geriatric nurse practitioner can be paid a salary just about half that of a doctor, eldercare facilities would be wise to hire more NPs and fewer physicians. Even so, a doctor would be on staff, but that one doctor can oversee multiple NPs, saving the facility or group of eldercare facilities an enormous amount of money.

Author: Carol Trehearn

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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