Advanced Practitioners Key to Expanding Primary Care

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media , December 17, 2012

"If there was a place where this would work well, where you would have a good chance of accessing a doctor, it would be in Massachusetts compared to other states. They also have a very robust network of community health centers."

A much-debated solution of to the lack of primary care physicians is advanced practitioners. "We obviously think they are a very important part of the primary care workforce and that would be a very helpful to look at how many additional advanced practitioners we would need to fill the primary care shortage," says Liaw.

According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants 2010 census, the population of PAs is twice its size from three years ago, at 83,466, with 31% specializing in primary care. The population of APRNs in 2010 practicing was 125,000, with at least 66 percent practicing in primary care, according to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

These two specialties are also growing at a faster rate than primary care physicians. The number of PAs and APRNs per primary care physician doubled between 1995 and 2009, according to a 2010 report published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"If you were to ask what is the physician assistant suited for most immediately upon graduation, the answer is primary care," says James D. Cannon, DHA, MBA, PA-C, Director-at-Large at the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

"Because all of our clinical rotations are primary care and our exam is primary care. So we are the most autonomous upon graduation in primary care. It's the specialties where we require an added level of being precepted and proctored."

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2 comments on "Advanced Practitioners Key to Expanding Primary Care"

ab3256 (12/21/2012 at 5:20 AM)
I feel that your comments are not suitable here Praveen, many PA/NP's have gone through extensive studying and hands on experience is also very important. Whether you have an MD or PA after your name, does not preclude to whether you are fit as a provider or not. We spend quite a big portion of our careers hands on, learning from no other than MD's and other PA's or NP's. So I suggest that you go back from your education came from and start analyzing what you have just written. To state some totally out of line statement such as "we are trying to take advantage of the affordable care act" is preposterous and ridiculous. People like you should not be allowed to practice when you are so intolerant and arrogant.

praveen (12/18/2012 at 3:59 PM)
NPs and PAs 1) Neither should be working independently of physicians in any state. 2) We need to train more primary care doctors, make more residency spots for primary and fill them with qualified foreign graduates. 3) The is no comparison between a board certified doctor and NPs and PAs in terms of depth of knowledge and ability to handle complex cases. 4) PAs and especially NPs are using the Afford Care Act to engage in the a great power/position grab and claim independent status. Don't fall for this.




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