Primary Care Workforce Stats: Uneven Geographic Distribution Persists

The U.S. primary care workforce was comprised of approximately 295,000 primary care professionals in 2010, according to research findings published by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research.

That total includes 209,000 practicing primary care physicians, 56,000 nurse practitioners and 30,000 physician assistants practicing primary care. Further analysis of the primary care workforce also revealed an uneven geographic distribution of primary care professionals persists. A majority of family physicians and general practitioners (77.5 percent), general internists (89.8 percent) and general pediatricians (91.2 percent) reported working in urban healthcare environments in 2010.

By comparison, approximately 11.1 percent of family physicians and general practitioners; 6.7 percent of general internists and 6.2 percent of general pediatricians reported working in large rural communities. Similar trends were noted for nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

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