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Oncology Obstructed

Nurse Practitioner Hurt by Independent Contractor Law

Conversations with Kerri, an oncology nurse practitioner in Boston who thinks like an entrepreneur, proceed at a sprint.

Cancer hits 37,940 Massachusetts people for the first time each year. Kerri (a disguised name) has a vision of a highly skilled medical service she would love to provide them, but the Massachusetts Independent Contractor Law (MICL) stands in the way.

A Nursing Innovation. Kerri senses a rapidly developing opportunity in oncology advocacy, a new niche that’s a direct extension of nursing’s century-old mission of caring for the whole patient, a mission much broader than doctors’ goal of curing disease.

Like the Four Corners, where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah come together, Kerri stands

at the center of the four trends remaking cancer treatment: rising survival rates, family dispersion, rapid changes in reimbursement policy, and a broadening spectrum of services joining medical specialties like oncology.

Oncology practice is rapidly evolving and often now consists of brief hospital treatment followed by longer-term general care by a team helping the patient and the family.

A cancer diagnosis often paralyzes patients and their families psychologically, just when the circumstance requires rapid, calm and effective decision-making. After the initial hospital work is done, who’s in charge?