How Could Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Be Deployed to Provide Rural Primary Care?
New (2014) rural enrollees in the insurance plans available on federal and state exchanges—platinum, gold, silver, bronze and catastrophic plans—are expected to generate about 1.39 million primary care visits per year. At a national level, it would require 345 full-time equivalent (FTE) physicians to provide those visits to new rural enrollees. This study uses data on rural insurance uptake, expected utilization and productivity of physicians, physician assistants (PAs), and nurse practitioners (NPs) to examine how different mixes of physicians, PAs and NPs might be able meet expanding population requirements for care. There is substantial regional variation in the need for providers to meet the needs of new enrollees, with high levels of need found in East North Central, West North Central and South Atlantic Census divisions.
Eric Larson, PhD
WWAMI Rural Health Research Center