AANP Statement on Texas Medical Center Survey on Future of Health Care Workforce

WASHINGTON D.C. — The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) and Wallin Opinion Research have analyzed newly released findings from a survey by the Texas Medical Center's (TMC) Health Policy Institute suggesting the nation is not experiencing widespread physician shortages, in both primary and specialty care, and that future shortages are not the cause for concern previously thought.

During their analysis, David Hebert, the CEO of AANP, and Justin Wallin, CEO of Wallin Opinion Research, issued the following statement regarding the survey's shortcomings, offering further context to TMC's claims, which stand in opposition to longstanding and generally accepted research confirming America is experiencing physician shortages in primary and specialty care and that these shortages are expected to increase in coming years.

"While we appreciate the effort of fielding this survey, the conclusions made by the researchers don't align with the results of the survey. Even after putting aside questions about the survey's validity, 90% of physicians reported the profession will experience a provider shortage in the next five years. Add to that 20% of surveyed patients are having difficulty securing appointments today, and it's hard to imagine how the study's authors could use these findings as evidence of anything but a serious, existing provider shortage" said David Hebert, CEO of AANP. "The survey asked patients about the ease of booking appointments — an inadequate measure to determine whether provider shortages exist. To do so would require ignoring ample, robust data from credible sources such as the Health Resources and Services Administration, which thoroughly demonstrates nearly 80 million Americans live today in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), where there is insufficient access to health care."

"Dr. Garson asserts the best way to measure physician shortages is by the evaluation of patients' appointments while also laying blame at deficiencies in insurance coverage, but this doesn't pass muster or paint the whole picture," said Justin Wallin, CEO of Wallin Opinion Research. "It should not be lost to people analyzing this survey's findings that 19% of the population who reported have difficulty accessing care is a huge proportion of patients. Looking at urban centers alone, this means roughly 32% of the urban population, or about one-third, reported having difficulties. Even by this survey's own criterion, which we maintain introduces an unproven, unaccepted metric, the data itself suggests patients are having trouble accessing a physician, which simply reinforces existing and widely-accepted research indicating the nation is experiencing a provider shortage."

Hebert went on to say, "Providers, like NPs, are working to increase access to affordable care, especially in HPSAs, and research shows that laws limiting NPs' scope of practice are only adding to the challenges of accessing care."

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is the largest professional membership organization for nurse practitioners (NPs) of all specialties. It represents the interests of the more than 270,000 licensed NPs in the U.S. AANP provides legislative leadership at the local, state and national levels, advancing health policy; promoting excellence in practice, education and research; and establishing standards that best serve NPs' patients and other health care consumers. As The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner®, AANP represents the interests of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. For more information and to locate an NP in your community, visit WeChooseNPs.org.

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