Scarcity of Primary Care Positions May Divert Physician Assistants Into Specialty Practice
Background: Physician assistants (PAs) are often suggested as a partial solution to predicted primary care workforce shortages, but a declining proportion of PAs are entering primary care practice. Policy efforts have focused on increasing primary care PA supply, but low labor market demand might be constricting the primary care PA pipeline.
Method: In this descriptive, cross-sectional study, we compare primary care and specialty job postings to each other and to occupied PA positions. Job posting data for 2014 are from a leading labor analytics firm.
Results: Only 18% of job postings were in primary care, compared with 27% of occupied PA positions. The proportion of postings that were for primary care varied widely by state (9% to 40%) and were highest in the West.
Discussion: Job availability is a potential barrier to PAs practicing in primary care, especially in some locations. Other job factors are examined and policy solutions are suggested.
Medical Care Research and Review : MCRR
Morgan, Perri; Himmerick, Kristine A.; Leach, Brandi; Dieter, Patricia; and Everett, Christine, "Scarcity of Primary Care Positions May Divert Physician Assistants Into Specialty Practice" (2017). All Faculty Scholarship. 119.