ANA Health Economist Contends Physicians’ Report Lowballs Percentage of NPs in Primary Care

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In a commentary published in Medscape Business of Medicine, ANA health economist Peter McMenamin, PhD, refutes a report touted by several physician groups that concludes that nurse practitioners may not be a viable solution to the primary care shortage. McMenamin uses data to challenge the report’s assumptions and conclusion that only about half of NPs work in primary care, saying it is a gross underestimate.

McMenamin demonstrates that the report dealt only with the specialties of physician clinicians who work in close physical proximity to NPs. Those conclusions were not based on the services that NPs actually performed.  McMenamin cites data on new NPs’ education choices and Medicare National Provider Identification (NPI) showing that 85 percent of NPs choose courses or work in fields categorized as primary care. In 2012, more than two-thirds of NPs participating in Medicare Part B and billing with their own NPI received $49.7 million in Medicare Primary Care Incentive Payments for having at least 60 percent of their approved charges derived from primary care services.

Read the commentary Here (requires Medscape free registration for access to the publication).