"It's not an either/ or," Bazemore says of who's providing primary care. "If we can collectively work for educational and payment policy changes… you're likely to see more movement into primary care and far less concern with who fills singular patient roles."
In fact, many providers are already adopting this team-based approach to care. Bazemore points to a Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine policy brief which shows that nearly 60% of family physicians "reported routinely working with NPs, PAs, or CNMs [certified nurse midwives]. Physicians more likely to work with these clinicians were younger and live in rural areas."
"There is likely a broader opportunity for them to be working together in teams," Bazemore says. "That requires a shift in the way we pay for primary care."
"The old scope of practice battles are not only tired, they're dangerous at this point," he says, adding that since primary care needs to get more complex and more comprehensive, the healthcare system needs all providers to work together. "The shortage is just too big."