AHRQ Primary Care Workforce Facts and Stats

Primary Care Workforce Facts and Stats Series

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is one of the agencies within the Department of Health And Human Services (HHS). It was originally created as the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) on December 19, 1989, under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1989 (103 Stat. 2159), as a Public Health Service Agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Agency was reauthorized with a name change as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality on December 6, 1999, under the Healthcare Research and Quality Act of 1999. Their mission is to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work with HHS and other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.

The AHRQ is producing a set of fact sheets to provide health care policy and decisionmakers with information on the U.S. primary care workforce which include information on:

  • The primary care workforce in place currently in the U.S.
  • Its capacity to care for the current U.S. population.
  • Needed growth in this workforce to accommodate population changes and expanded health care insurance coverage.

US Primary Care Workforce Facts and Stats Series

  1. The Number of Practicing Primary Care Physicians in the U.S. In 2010, there were approximately 209,000 practicing primary care physicians in the United States.
  2. The Number of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants Practicing Primary Care in the U.S. In 2010, approximately 56,000 nurse practitioners and 30,000 physician assistants were practicing primary care in the U.S.
  3. The Distribution of the U.S. Primary Care Workforce Primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants are more likely to practice in rural areas than are non-primary care specialists, but are still more concentrated in urban areas.

AHRQ is also planning the release of several more Primary Care Workforce Fact Sheets examining topics including:

  1. Mapping the Distribution of the U.S. Primary Care Workforce.
  2. Quality and the Population-to-Primary-Care Professional Ratio.
  3. Primary Care Workforce Needs Due to Health Reform, Population Growth, and Demographic Change.

For more information visti AHRQ web site.