Commentaries on Health Services Research

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Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants






Are there too many PA programs? As this article reports, most new programs are within an hour's drive of an established program. The authors offer a cautionary warning of too many urban programs cannibalizing each other for resources and producing too many PAs. Although helpful, the study cannot answer the question of whether there are too many PA programs. Are PAs staying in urban areas or moving into underserved rural areas? Is there a comparable growth in the physician supply, which is closely linked to PA employment? How do the number of seats and programs in each state compare with the changes and percentages of the population who are insured? The growth of insured Americans under the Affordable Care Act and the possible effects of its repeal directly affect the need for primary care physicians, PAs, and NPs. In other words, the authors offer a helpful look into the supply side of PA services, but leave room for subsequent studies looking how factors such as policy are affecting the demand for preventive and acute care. Only after looking at both supply and demand can the question be addressed whether the nation has enough, too many, or too few programs.