The advent of the Affordable Care Act has led to millions of new patients seeking primary care. Because the number of primary care physicians has remained stable, access to care has been a concern. This "secret shopper" study performed between 2012 and 2016 showed that the proportion of primary care appointments scheduled for Medicaid patients with nonphysician advanced practitioners, like nurse practitioners and physician assistants, increased from 7.7% to 12.9% across a sample of 3,742 randomly selected primary care practices in 10 states. This roughly corresponds with the decrease in the rate of uninsured Americans and with the increase in Medicaid recipients since the Affordable Care Act began. The number of appointments scheduled with nonphysician advanced practitioners was higher at federally qualified health centers than other non-FQHC clinics. The findings suggest that practices may be relying on nonphysician health professionals to accommodate new Medicaid beneficiaries.
Primary Care Appointments for Medicaid Beneficiaries With Advanced Practitioners
Molly Candon, PhD, et al
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia