The healthcare industry is facing a primary care physician shortage that threatens patient access to care in coming years. Leaning on non-physician clinicians such as nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) could reduce the enormity of that problem, according to a recent report from the United Health Group.
Currently, 13 percent of US patients live in a county with a primary care shortage, defined as having less than one primary care physician (PCP) per 2,000 patients.
The primary care shortage impacts both rural and urban areas, although its effects are more concentrated in rural areas. Patients living in rural areas are five times more likely to live in a county with a PCP shortage compared to individuals living in urban or suburban areas.
However, the number of patients living in urban or suburban areas experiencing a provider shortage is nearly equal to the number of patients living in rural areas experiencing the same thing – 21 million patients versus 23 million, respectively. ……more