HCS 514 Week 6 DQ 3 -
I see the face of primary care providers changing in the next ten years.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States will face a shortage of about 90,000 physicians by 2020. Longer lifespan, population growth, and health care reform contribute to the shortage and higher demand for doctors. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will expand coverage to more than 30 million Americans in the next decade.
The physician shortage will hit primary care the hardest. It is already affecting my practice. We have five physicians and six nurse practitioners. We are in constant efforts to recruit more pediatricians. In the last ten years, we have found one. Our community hospital conducted a study to determine the number of physicians needed for our area population. They found that two more pediatricians are needed to care for the number of children in our community. With support from the hospital, we hope to add more doctors soon.
In the next ten years, one of our physicians will be retired and three more will be 60 years-old. NPs fill the gap in the office. However, our NPs do not treat hospitalized patients. I can easily see our practice made up of NPs providing the majority of care with the physicians supervising by being on-site for consultation and complicated cases. Currently in Ohio, one physician can be in a collaborating agreement with three NPs.
I think nurse practitioners (NPs) are one solution we will have to accept. Their schooling does not take as long a physician and their salary is about half of a physician. With the change in our pay or mix, NPs are an affordable and practical option for the day-to-day treatment of childhood illness and well care.
Below is a link to a video of a story that ran on PBS about NPs becoming our primary care providers.
Brown, J. (2013). United states faces physician shortage in near future.
Managed Healthcare Executive, 23(1), 32-33. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1270664695?accountid=35812