Nurse practitioners and America’s primary care shortage - AEI

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Nurse Practitioners: A Solution to America’s Primary Care Crisis 

Event Summary

Monday at AEI, Peter Buerhaus presented on the worsening shortage of primary care providers in the United States. He offered several solutions to the problem, summarized in his recent report, “Nurse practitioners: A solution to America’s primary care crisis.” According to Dr. Buerhaus’ research, an estimated 84 million people in the United States do not have adequate access to primary care, and a disproportionate amount of these individuals live in rural areas. Nurse practitioners (NPs), Dr. Buerhaus argues, are uniquely prepared to address the health care needs in rural areas and could likely do so at a fraction of the cost of their physician counterparts. Loosening state restrictions on NPs could save both money and lives without sacrificing health care quality.

A panel led by AEI’s Robert Doar, featuring Dr. Buerhaus, AEI’s Joseph Antos, Eileen Sullivan-Marx of New York University, and Shawn Martin of the American Association of Family Physicians, discussed the challenges to loosening state restrictions on NPs and the fundamental problems surrounding primary care. Dr. Antos was particularly adamant about the need for fundamental financial reform. A brief Q&A session followed, addressing medical education, the feasibility of reform, and the nuances of state and local jurisdictions.

— Caleb Seibert

Event Description

Americans, especially those in rural areas, often lack adequate access to primary health care. Shortages of primary care providers are likely to worsen in coming years, with a particular strain placed on Medicare as the baby-boom generation ages into retirement.

Peter Buerhaus’ new report, “Nurse Practitioners: A Solution to America’s Primary Care Crisis,” describes his original research on the primary care shortage and its potential solutions. His research strongly suggests that reevaluating restrictions on nurse practitioners can help Americans gain greater access to primary care while easing the strain on public health insurance programs.
Please join AEI for Dr. Buerhaus’ presentation of his research and a panel discussion on the implications of his findings.

Join the conversation on social media with @AEI on Twitter and Facebook.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


Registration and breakfast

9:00 AM
Robert Doar, AEI

9:05 AM
Peter Buerhaus, Montana State University

9:35 AM

Joseph Antos, AEI
Peter Buerhaus, Montana State University
Shawn Martin, AAFP
Eileen Sullivan Marx, New York University

Robert Doar, AEI

10:45 AM

11:00 AM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Maryanna Mitchell at [email protected], 202.862.7197.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries or to register a camera crew, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829

Joseph Antos is the Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy at AEI, where his research focuses on the economics of health policy — including the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, the uninsured, and the overall reform of the health care system and its financing. He also studies the impact of health care expenditures on federal budget policy. Before joining AEI, Dr. Antos was assistant director for health and human resources at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). He has also held senior positions in the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Management and Budget, and the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. He recently completed a seven-year term as health adviser to CBO and two terms as a commissioner of the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission. Dr. Antos has a Ph.D. and an M.A. in economics from the University of Rochester and a B.A. in mathematics from Cornell University.

Peter Buerhaus is a nurse and a health care economist. He is well-known for his studies and publications focused on the nursing and physician workforces in the United States. He is a professor in the College of Nursing and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies at Montana State University. Before coming to Montana State University, Dr. Buerhaus was the Valere Potter Distinguished Professor of Nursing and professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University and assistant professor of health policy and management at Harvard School of Public Health. Before that, he served as assistant to the CEO of the University of Michigan Medical Center’s seven teaching hospitals and assistant to the vice provost for medical affairs, the chief executive of the medical center. Dr. Buerhaus is coauthor of “The Future of the Nursing Workforce in the United States: Data, Trends, and Implications” (Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2008). In 2003, he was elected into the National Academy of Medicine and since 1994 has been a member of the American Academy of Nursing.

Robert Doar is the Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at AEI, where he studies and evaluates how free enterprise and improved federal policies and programs can reduce poverty and provide opportunities for vulnerable Americans. Before joining AEI, he worked for Mayor Michael Bloomberg as commissioner of New York City’s Human Resources Administration, where he administered 12 public assistance programs, including welfare, food assistance, public health insurance, and help for people living with HIV/AIDS. Before joining the Bloomberg administration, Mr. Doar was New York state commissioner of social services, helping make New York a model for the implementation of welfare reform.

Shawn Martin is senior vice president of advocacy, practice advancement, and policy at the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). He is responsible for overseeing the AAFP Division of Government Relations and the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care in Washington, DC, as well as the Division of Practice Advancement at the AAFP headquarters in Leawood, Kansas. In this role, he directs legislative and private-sector advocacy on issues such as physician payment and medical liability reform. Mr. Martin has served on the National Quality Assurance Coalition’s patient-centered medical home advisory board, the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality’s practice transformation advisory board, and the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program’s patient-centered medical home advisory panel.

Eileen Sullivan-Marx is dean and the Erline Perkins McGriff Professor of Nursing at New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing. She is a renowned nursing leader, educator, and clinician known for research and innovative approaches in primary care; testing methods of payment for nurses, particularly with Medicaid and Medicare; sustaining models of care using advanced practice nurses locally and globally; and developing health policy in community-based settings. Dr. Sullivan-Marx is president-elect of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN), where she has been a fellow since 1997 and is an AAN Edge Runner. She also holds fellowships in the Gerontology Society of America and the New York Academy of Medicine. She is a member of the board of directors of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. Dr. Sullivan-Marx has been on numerous community planning and advisory boards. From 2010 to 2012, she was an American Political Science Association congressional fellow and senior adviser to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Medicaid and Medicare Coordination, just after passage of the Affordable Care Act.

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