HMOs credential nurse practitioners as PCPs



Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are more often credentialing nurse practitioners as primary care providers (PCPS) in a move to help alleviate the forecasted shortage of primary health care physicians, according to a recent survey.

The National Nursing Centers Consortium (NNCC) collected data from more than 250 HMOs between June 2011 and May 2012 and found that about 75% of health insurers now credential nurse practitioners as PCPs, a rate higher than in past years. Two HMOs in the survey (<1%) said that they usually do not credential nurse practitioners as PCPs, but they do make exceptions to provide care for rural areas that do not have sufficient health care coverage.

The NNCC says that it supports what is the growing trend in primary care. Even with more nurse practitioners as an available option for primary health care, the number will fall short of the projected need for about 60,000 PCPs by 2015 as millions of Americans newly insured under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act look for primary care providers.

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