Non-Physician Providers vs. The Physician Shortage: Can They Bridge the Primary Care Gap

NPs and PAs Taking on the Role of Primary Care Givers

Across the nation, the news is the same: There are too few primary care physicians. According to American Medical News, typical practicing physicians and physicians in training receive three to five solicitations for employment each week, with a few physicians receiving 50 or more employment letters weekly. And the association of American Medical Colleges estimates that more than 46,000 primary care slots will be unfilled by 2020.

On the other hand, in many states, depending upon scope of practice laws, NPs and PAs are taking over much of the load of primary care giving, so much so that some analysts call the predicted shortage of physicians greatly exaggerated.

Writing in the journal Health Affairs, Linda Green, a professor at Columbia's Graduate School of Business argued that NPs and PAs could fill the primary care slots.

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