Mar 16, 2023 - News

North Carolina residents aren't seeing primary-care doctors

Share of patients without a primary care provider
Data: FAIR Health; Note: Washington, D.C. and Hawaii's datasets were to small for analysis; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios

Nearly a third of North Carolinians who received medical care in the last six years didn't see a primary care doctor, a FAIR Health analysis provided first to Axios shows.

  • That's on par with the national average, which points to a shortage of primary care providers across the country.

Why it matters: Primary care providers are supposed to manage patients' day-to-day health needs and provide preventative care, and evidence shows it can drive down costs and improve outcomes, but a significant chunk of our state is getting care elsewhere, Axios' Tina Reed writes.

State of play: A bipartisan group of North Carolina lawmakers re-filed a bill last month that would grant more independence to the state's most highly trained nurses, a proposal that supporters say could address primary care shortages.

  • That proposal, called the SAVE Act, was previously introduced last year as part of a Medicaid expansion proposal last year, which supporters have said was needed to increase providers as more patients are added to the state's rolls.

The latest: This year, the two proposals are proceeding separately.

  • The state Senate passed a Medicaid expansion bill Tuesday, and it's unclear whether the SAVE Act, which has broad, bipartisan support, will advance on its own.
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