Physicians are not the only providers of primary health care. Other professionals can serve as usual sources of routine, preventive care, including nurse practitioners (NP), physician assistants PA), and clinical nurse specialists. The Health Services Research Administration projects that the primary care NP and PA workforces will grow far more rapidly than the physician supply in the next 10 years and could help alleviate shortages as demand increases.
Other Primary Care Providers is a Ratio
Other Primary Care Providers is the ratio of the county population to the number of other primary care providers. The ratio can be interpreted as the number of individuals served by a provider in a county, if the population were equally distributed across providers. For example, if a county has a population of 50,000 and has 20 other primary care providers, their ratio would be: 2,500:1.
Other Primary Care Providers has been Corrected
We recently discovered an error in our method for identifying Other Primary Care Providers in 2014-2016: we were including organizations as well as individual providers in each county. The correct estimates of the ratios for Other Primary Care Providers are now available on our website for 2015 and 2016 and in the downloadable data files. Unfortunately, the raw data file used to calculate Other Primary Care Providers for the 2014 Rankings is not available at this time, so corrections cannot be provided.
Some Data are Suppressed
A missing value is reported for counties with population greater than 4,000 and 0 other primary care providers.
Primary care providers are classified by county, but physicians living on the edge of counties or who practice in multiple locations may see patient populations that reside in surrounding counties.
Additionally, providers who transmit electronic health records are required to obtain an identification number, but very small providers may not obtain a number. Therefore, some primary care providers included in this list may no longer be practicing or accepting new patients, which may result in an overestimate of providers in some communities.
Numerator (Left) Side of the Ratio
The numerator is the number of other primary care providers in a county. Other primary care providers include nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and clinical nurse specialists.
Denominator (Right) Side of the Ratio
The denominator is the total county population.