Task Force on Primary Care and Specialty Supply

The NCIOM convened the Task Force on Primary Care and Specialty Supply in 2006 to analyze current and projected trends in provider supply and to examine whether the existing production of physicians, NPs, PAs, and CNMs will address the state’s growing healthcare needs. The task force examined trends in provider supply including: (1) types of providers (by specialty) likely to be needed to address future healthcare needs; (2) areas of the state that experience persistent shortages; and (3) underrepresentation of certain ethnic and racial minorities in specified health professions. The task force's goal was to develop public and private policy options to ensure North Carolinians have access to the providers they need.

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Task Force Leadership

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E. Harvey Estes, Jr. MD

Chairman Emeritus, NCIOM Board of Directors

Professor Emeritus, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University


The study of the primary care and specialty workforce in North Carolina was a collaborative effort of the NC Institute of Medicine, NC Health Professions Data System and Southeast Regional Center for Health Workforce Studies at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and NC Area Health Education Centers Program. Current data from the NC Health Professions Data System indicate that physician growth is no longer keeping pace with population growth in North Carolina. The goal of the study was to identify likely provider shortages, both in terms of provider specialty (e.g., OB-GYN, surgeons, psychiatrists, geriatricians, pediatric subspecialists, primary care) and areas of the state experiencing persistent shortages, and to address these potential problems before the state is in the midst of a full-blown crisis. This initiative also examined the needs of underserved population groups (e.g., uninsured, immigrants, frail and elderly) in determining the types of providers needed in the future.

The NCIOM study evaluated the state’s past efforts to recruit and retain health professionals, including in-state academic training and residency programs; out-of-state recruitment and retention efforts for health professional shortage areas; the use of international medical graduates; whether the growth in nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants and certified nurse midwives will offset the likely shortfall in primary care physicians; and professional quality of life issues. The goal of this study was to develop public and private policy options to ensure that North Carolina has an adequate supply of providers distributed throughout the state. Some of the options may include, but are not limited to: