Back in 2011, the ACGME cut back the duty hours of the residents and that had a major impact on the coverage they provided to NICUs across the country.

Now, starting next month (July of 2013) we look to be facing an even deeper shortage of resident coverage in the NICU’s because the ACGME has lowered the NICU resident coverage “minimum” requirements from five months to just two.

More and more of our clients have contacted us recently about the pending cutbacks and how they intend on filling the potential void which looms ahead next month:

  • Some are pulling out all the plugs to hire additional neonatal nurse practitioners, ASAP.
  • Others are turning to physician assistants
  • Still, others are now using hospitalists and/or peds intensivists
  • There have been some rare occasions where hospitals are utilizing neonatologists in mid-level provider roles!

But one thing seems to be getting more and more clear – if collectively the NNP schools are graduating less than 275 NNPs per year and the need for coverage in the NICUs across the country far exceed that number, what are the hospitals going to do?

Over the past several years we have seen a growing trend where facilities who did not use any mid-level providers are now doing so…and are using locum NNPs to help bridge the gap…and if not able to hire NNPs, have no qualms about hiring PA’s or utilizing hospitalists and/or peds intensivists.

Have you seen or experienced this trend in your unit or units in your area? Do you have any stories you can share related to this topic? Should the NNP community be alarmed about this trend? We’d love your input.