Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Providing Primary Care in California Community Clinics


Catherine Dower, Susan A. Chapman, Joanna Patton, Allan Dumlao

Oct. 13, 2011

As reported earlier, nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) play a critical role in the delivery of primary care in California, providing the majority of primary care services in over 20% of the state’s community clinics. This follow-up, qualitative research explores how and why leaders in a sample of these clinics rely on NPs and PAs, in addition to physicians, as primary care clinicians. As described, these models help meet high patient volume in a cost-effective manner. Some of the opportunities and challenges of an integrated clinician model – staffing arrangements, oversight mechanisms, practice culture and ideas for making these models work even better – are investigated and described.