Scarcity of Primary Care Positions May Divert Physician Assistants Into Specialty Practice
Despite state and federal efforts to encourage physician assistants (PAs) to help fill primary care gaps, the proportion of PAs practicing in primary care continues to decline. Using job posting data from a leading labor analytics firm, this study finds that the decline could be due to a lack of job availability. In 2014, for example, only 18 percent of PA job postings were in primary care, compared with specialty positions. While policies have focused on increasing primary care PA supply, additional efforts are needed to increase labor demand via financial incentives, job-locating assistance and educational outreach.