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Variation ID'd in Increased Demand for Primary Care Docs

Overall, increased demand modest, but some areas have >10 percent increase in demand

THURSDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Although the anticipated increased demand for primary health care providers with implementation of the Affordable Care Act is unlikely to be disruptive overall, considerable variation exists in the proportional demand for additional primary care providers, according to research published online in the February issue of Health Affairs.

Elbert S. Huang, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Chicago, and Kenneth Finegold, Ph.D., from the Office of the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., examined the estimated impact of the increased demand for primary care providers expected with the expansion of insurance coverage established in the Affordable Care Act.

The researchers found that the increased demand for primary care providers, estimated at 7,200 additional primary care providers, equivalent to 2.5 percent of the current supply, is unlikely to prove disruptive on average. However, the demand will be experienced with considerable variability in different areas of the country. Seven million people live in areas where the anticipated increased demand exceeds 10 percent of the supply, while 44 million live in areas where the expected increased demand is more than 5 percent of the baseline supply.

"Despite the limitations of our analysis and the uncertainties surrounding the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, this study highlights the major local variation in the expected need for primary care services and providers with insurance coverage expansion," the authors write.

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