Study: Physicians & NPs, PAs provide equal quality of care

A new study found physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants deliver equal quality of care in health centers.

Ellen Kurtzman, PhD, RN, associate professor at Washington, D.C.-based George Washington University School of Nursing, and researchers analyzed data spanning five years from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey's Community Health Center subsample. Then, researchers compared nine patient outcomes by practitioner type, which included three quality indicators, two referral pattern measures and four service utilization measures.

Here are three points:

1. Based on their analysis, researchers found NP and PA visits had similar quality, service and referral rates as physicians.

2. Dr. Kurtzman led a separate study analyzing the same dataset on outcomes and found these results did not vary in states with and without occupational restrictions on NPs and PAs.

3. Researchers note these findings indicate legislators can possibly impose less stringent guidelines on occupational policies that may limit NPs' and PAs' autonomy.

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