American Enterprise Institute Report Confirms Nurse Practitioners are Vital to Solving America's Primary Care Access Crisis

AUSTIN, TX -- In a new report released by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), health care economist and professor of nursing at Montana State University, Peter Buerhaus, finds nurse practitioners (NPs) to be a key solution to America's primary care crisis.

"This report verifies what a growing number of policymakers and states already recognize: NPs are the answer to solving the primary care access crisis facing millions of Americans nationwide," said David Hebert, JD, CEO of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). "The findings come at a pivotal moment as health care remains one of the top issues for voters in the coming midterm elections and at a time when current primary care shortages are projected to worsen, exacerbating the access-to-care crisis."

Key findings in Buerhaus' report include:

  1. Despite decades of spending, tens of millions of Americans do not have adequate access to safe, high-quality primary care (particularly in rural areas), a number that is projected to continue growing.
  2. A large and growing body of research shows that the quality of care provided by NPs is equitable to care provided by primary care physicians. But in many states, patients are held back from receiving NP care by laws that restrict their scope of practice.
  3. Lawmakers, hospital administrators, health care systems and others involved in assuring access to primary care should remove restrictions on NPs that limit their scope of practice, and physicians should work with NPs to build a workforce that is more responsive to communities' health needs.

"NPs are licensed to practice in all 50 states and represent 248,000 solutions for improved patient access," said AANP President Joyce Knestrick, Ph.D., C-FNP, APRN, FAANP. "NPs are significantly more likely to provide primary care services to the most vulnerable populations among us and are more likely to practice in rural areas where the need is high. Lifting scope-of-practice restrictions to increase access and empower patient choice is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve health and promote health care quality."

To find out more about why patients are choosing NPs or about your state's NP workforce, click here.


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 248,000 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 NP 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. To locate a nurse practitioner in your community, go to npfinder.com. For more information about NPs, visit aanp.org.