By ERIK SCHELZIG
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The growing demand for medical care that is projected to accompany the full implementation of the federal health care law in January is adding urgency to a Tennessee debate over whether nurses should be allowed to provide more independent care to patients.
Nurses currently see patients in a variety of settings ranging from private practices to retail clinics, but they must be supervised by a physician. Nurses groups want to remove what they call a "barrier" to treatment, but doctors oppose giving nurses more independence.
A legislative fight over the matter is expected to get underway when Tennessee lawmakers return into session January.
Tennessee had about 210 active care physicians 100,000 residents, ranking the state near the national average.
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