In a recent PHS 795 lecture, UW Health ACO chief Dr. Jonathan Jaffery discussed the importance of ensuring that health care providers are spending their time “practicing at the top of their license.” A PHS student notes that availability of supervisory physicians is serving as a barrier to nurse practitioners in “filling the primary care gap.” They write:
This article discusses the ongoing demand for primary care physicians. Despite efforts in the past few years to increase the number of primary care physicians, and the demand is increasing as more Americans get health coverage through the ACA. They used match data to track the number of new primary care physicians and nurse practitioner graduation rates. The number of nurse practitioners (NPs) has greatly increased but the number of primary care physicians isn’t keeping up with the number of new NPs, and since there are many regulations around the type of work and amount of supervision needed for NPs, it inhibits NPs from filling the primary care gap. There are still 10 states that limit the number of NPs physicians can supervise, which means that some states cannot make use of all of the available NPs because there aren’t enough primary care physicians to oversee the NPs. The article mentions that in order to meet the goals of the “Triple Aim” health care system approach, we need to make it possible for all providers to provide the maximum care that their licenses permit.
The changes implemented by the ACA (both insurance and delivery reform) cannot be fully realized unless we can change the policies and regulations limiting the roles of health care providers and improve incentives to work as primary care providers. In Jaffery’s class lecture, he spoke about how the aspect of health care that needs the most improvement is routine and preventative care. We need more primary care physicians and NPs to not only catch up to the increasing demand for primary care services, but also to improve primary care and make primary care more accessible.
Primary Care Workforce: The Need To Remove Barriers For Nurse Practitioners And Physicians
Primary Care Workforce: The Need To Remove Barriers For Nurse Practitioners And Physicians | At the intersection of health, health care, and policy.