AAFP: Physicians Must Not Be Replaced in Efforts to Fix Primary Care Shortages

The American Academy of Family Physicians cautions against substituting nurse practitioners for physicians as a stop-gap answer to the primary care physician shortage.

The AAFP released the report, "Primary Care for the 21st Century," which describes research that supports team-based care and its impact on primary care in the United States. Specifically, multiple studies suggest teams of health professionals led by physicians in the patient-centered medical home model are able to promote better and more efficient care than independent practice by a single health professional.

AAFP also argued physicians and advance practice registered nurses undergo significantly different training and cannot be interchangeable in clinical settings. Rather, nurse-physician teams can lead to better care in the patient-centered medical home model.

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