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Diabetes Outcomes Similar Regardless of Primary Provider

TUESDAY, June 25, 2019 -- Diabetes outcomes are similar for Veterans Affairs patients regardless of whether the primary provider is a physician, nurse practitioner (NP), or physician assistant (PA), according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Christine M. Everett, Ph.D., from the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, and colleagues used data from the Veterans Health Administration to evaluate whether differences in diabetes outcomes exist among 609,668 patients seen at Veterans Health Administration primary care clinics with different types of primary and supplemental providers (physicians, PAs, and NPs).

The researchers found no clinically meaningful differences in outcomes based on the profession of the usual provider or supplemental provider or based on whether physicians provided supplemental care to patients with PAs or NPs as usual providers. Physicians were the usual providers of care for about three-quarters of patients (77 percent), while PAs or NPs were the usual providers of care for just under one-quarter of patients (22 percent).

"The finding that patients receiving primary care PA-only and NP-only care have such similar outcomes to patients receiving physician-only primary care indicates possible potential for improved efficiency, by means of transferring primary care of even moderately complex patients to less-expensive providers," the authors write.

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Posted: June 2019