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Why is There a Decline in Doctor Visits?

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the number of patients seeing nurse practitioners or physician assistants has increased by 50% in the last decade, according to a post on the Human Capital Blog. At the same time, there has been over a 70% decline in the number of outpatient visits to physicians during this same period.

The American Medical News reports that this trend may be due to cost-conscious patients who are more informed about their options, as well as efforts to reduce overall utilization by insurance companies and health care systems. This may also be exacerbated by the the recent recession and prolonged joblessness.

Have you seen a decline in the number of patients you see? Do you use physician extenders? Are they seeing more patients?

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