Singleton says the rise in compensation for primary care doctors "is as much about demand as it is about who is paying them."
"You see this in pediatrics as well. In years past when it was private, smaller groups they could only do so much. Now you have hospitals that have the downstream revenue, inpatient revenue, they are able to be more competitive."
The demand for primary care access has also fueled search requests for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, which increased by 320% over the last two years, Merritt Hawkins reports.
"In simplistic terms you have to preserve access. Being able to give patients the portals to get the right care at the right place by the right person," Singleton says. "Most Americans today are dealing with some sort of health issues: obesity, diabetes, mental health. Our specialists are maxed out. Who can do the coughs, sniffles, and basic care? Some would argue that a nurse practitioner or a physicians assistant is in a better position to give more attention to those types of patients; trying to keep them out of the ED, in other words."
The dire need for primary care access has prompted hospitals and other providers to ignore the territorial sniping between physicians' associations and advanced practice nurses.
"They're saying 'we are not going to wait on scope-of-care arguments. This is my primary care access mission. This is my population health mission. I cannot do this with physicians alone, so I am making the call. We are employing 100 NPs this year,'" he says. "You have to practice at the top of your licenses. You cannot get out of this alone without help."