thopedic spine surgeons. Patients are given an appointment
within 48 hours with a physiatrist or NP, if the pain episode is
less than three months. Since inception in January 2012, the
spine center has seen 3,137 acute and subacute new patients,
a population not reached previously.
Nurses and NPs are coming forward to fill these gaps in
spine care, which are exacerbated by an aging population
and decreased access to this specialized care. Additionally,
nurses and NPs are trained with a significant emphasis on the
incorporation of the physical, emotional and social well-being
of the patient, which may be an advantage when patients first
seek care for a spine problem. The process, commonly referred
to as nurse navigation, enables nurses to evaluate the patient
and direct him or her to the best spine provider, meeting the
demand for access to spine care.
1. Social Security Administration. Annual Report on the Board of
Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and
Disability Insurance Trust Funds. Social Security Administration.
2. O’Lynnger T, Zuckerman S, Morone P, Dewan M, Vasquez-Castellanos R, Cheng J. Trends for spine surgery for the
elderly; implications for access to healthcare in North America.
Neurosurgery. 2015;77( 4): S136-41.
3. Sarro A, Rampersaud Y, Lewis S. Nurse practitioner-led surgical
spine consultation clinic. J Advanced Nursing. 2010;66( 12):2671-
4. Vega P. How clinical navigation can make spine care better.
Vega Healthcare Blog. 2011;Sept 1. Available at: http://www.
Direct or indirect remuneration: royalties, stock ownership, private
investments, consulting, speaking and/or teaching arrangements, trips/travel.
Position held in a company: board of directors, scientific advisory board, other
office. Support from sponsors: endowments, research–investigator salary,
research–staff and/or materials, grants, fellowship support. Other
Degree of support:
Level A. $100 to $1000 Level F. $100,001 to $500,000
Level B. $1,001 to $10,000 Level G. $500,001 to $1M
Level C. $10,001 to $25,000 Level H. $1,000,001 to $2.5M
Level D. $25,001 to $50,000 Level I. greater than $2.5M
Level E. $50,001 to $100,000