Despite serving as the “foundational element” of the U.S. healthcare system, the nation's primary-care network is experiencing “diminishing economic margins, and increasing workforce attrition compounded by diminishing recruitment of new physicians, nurses and physician assistants into primary care,” according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
AHRQ releases stats on state of primary-care workforce
AHRQ's Center for Primary Care, Prevention and Clinical Partnership will be issuing a “Facts and Stats Series” on primary-care topics designed to inform healthcare policy and decisionmakers on primary care's workforce, capacity and growth needs.
In 2008, Americans made nearly 956 million visits to office-based physicians, and 51.3% of those were to primary-care doctors—though slightly less than one third of the country's 624,000 doctors who spend the majority of their time in direct patient care are primary-care specialists, according to the first fact sheet in the series.
The second fact sheet cites CMS figures that put the 2010 nurse practitioner and physician assistant workforces at 106,073 and 70,383. According to estimates by the Robert Graham Center, a non-partisan primary-care policy and analysis organization commissioned by AHRQ, the percentages of the nurse practitioner and physician assistant workforces practicing in primary care are 52% and 43.4%.
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