Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Who Is Caring Care for the Sick?   The Numbers

And Who Shall Care for the Sick?
Title of Book, by Richard L. Reece, MD, Media Medicus Minneapolis, 1988

August 8, 2012 -  Having written a book on the subject and given the present and future physician shortage, now 70,000 and estimated to reach 125,000 by 2025, I asked myself: Who is currently caring for the sick? 
Here are the numbers I came up with:
1.       Physicians – According to the government agency, AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality),  there are 624,434 physicians directly engaged in patient care.  Of these, 209,000 are in primary care.  Of primary care doctors,  45.2% are family physicians/general practitioners, 31.2% in general internal medicine, and 23.6% in general pediatrics.  Primary care doctors account for 51.3% of 956 million office visits.

2.      Physician Assistants – The Occupational Outlook Handbook says there are 83,660 physician assistants (PAs). PAs work under the supervision of doctors and are licensed to diagnose, prescribe, and treat patients. 

3.      Nurse Practitioners - estimates that there are 180,233 certified nurse practioners in the U.S. NPs can diagnose, prescribe, and treat patients, on their own or in conjunction with physicians.

4.      Nurses (RNs)  – The American Nurses Association says there are 2.6 million registered nurses directly engaged in patient care.
Tweet:  624,434 doctors, 83,660 physician assistants, 180,233 nurse practitioners, and 2.6 million RNs are currently caring for the sick in the United States.

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