Perspectives: Using Results from HRSA's Health Workforce Simulation Model to Examine the Geography of Primary Care

Robin A Streeter, George A Zangaro, Arpita Chattopadhyay
Health Services Research 2017, 52 Suppl 1: 481-507

OBJECTIVE: Inform health planning and policy discussions by describing Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA's) Health Workforce Simulation Model (HWSM) and examining the HWSM's 2025 supply and demand projections for primary care physicians, nurse practitioners (NPs), and physician assistants (PAs).

DATA SOURCES: HRSA's recently published projections for primary care providers derive from an integrated microsimulation model that estimates health workforce supply and demand at national, regional, and state levels.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Thirty-seven states are projected to have shortages of primary care physicians in 2025, and nine states are projected to have shortages of both primary care physicians and PAs. While no state is projected to have a 2025 shortage of primary care NPs, many states are expected to have only a small surplus.

CONCLUSIONS: Primary care physician shortages are projected for all parts of the United States, while primary care PA shortages are generally confined to Midwestern and Southern states. No state is projected to have shortages of all three provider types. Projected shortages must be considered in the context of baseline assumptions regarding current supply, demand, provider-service ratios, and other factors. Still, these findings suggest geographies with possible primary care workforce shortages in 2025 and offer opportunities for targeting efforts to enhance workforce flexibility.


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