Nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) have increasingly provided primary care treatment services to Medicare patients over the past decade, according to recent studies:
A study by Xue et al. (2017) published in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, 8(4), 256-263, found primary care provided by physicians alone declined from 86% to 71% from 2008 to 2014. Meanwhile, shared care provided by physicians, NPs, or PAs increased from 12% to 23%. Care from NPs and PAs alone grew from 3% to 6%.
A study Loresto et al. (2017) in the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 29(6), 340-347, found a 170% increase in the number of Medicare patients receiving primary care from NPs alone from 2007 to 2013. Authors found no statistical difference in health status among patients treated by NPs alone as compared with physicians.