Evenson says the report verifies that healthcare organizations are moving toward an increasing reliance on physicians' assistants and nurse practitioners to make up for the shortage of primary care physicians. As a result, these highly specialized nurses are enjoying significant compensation hikes.
Over the past five years nurse practitioners' compensation has increased, on average about 13.4%, to the median of $92,717 in 2012. For physicians' assistances in the surgical suite that compensation increased by 9.6% over five years to a median of $112,689. For physicians' assistants in the primary care setting the compensation increased 10.4%, with a media of $96,834 in 2012, MGMA reported.
"When we look at their compensation this really underscores how the environment and the healthcare system is leveraging providers to the maximum of their license," Evenson says. "It shows how teams and organizations are dealing with that primary care shortage. They are looking towards the nurse practitioner and their role in the organization. Even if you're in a gastroenterology practice they are leaving the scope work to the physicians and the follow up visits to the practitioners. They are leveraging them to try to meet that demand."