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Advanced Practitioners Key to Expanding Primary Care

Chelsea Rice, for HealthLeaders Media, December 17, 2012

The nation's growing need for primary care providers is well documented. The numbers are staggering, and they are ratcheting up.

A study published in the November/December 2012 issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, projects that by 2025, the United States will need an additional 52,000 primary care physicians.

This figure surpasses research published by the American Association of Medical Colleges, which predicted a 46,000 primary care physician shortage by 2025. And it trumps the research published in 2008 in Health Affairs, which determined that the country would be short 44,000 primary care physicians by 2025.

Massachusetts provides a current case study of the issues around insurance expansion and primary care utilization and access. Even with the second highest state ratio of primary care physicians to population, primary care wait times increased in 2006 after the state passed its health insurance mandate.

"Reports that there were increased wait times were particularly with populations where more people were on public insurance, and particularly in places where there was a shortage of physicians, especially in rural and lower income areas," says Winston Liaw, MD, MPH, an  assistant professor at the Fairfax Family Medicine Residence Program at Virginia Commonwealth University.

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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.