Poll finds four out of five Kentuckians are comfortable seeing a nurse practitioner or physician assistant for routine care

New poll figures indicate the majority of Kentuckians are comfortable seeing a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or mid-level clinician for their routine care, especially if they have been treated by such clinicians. The findings come as the General Assembly considers a bill that would allow physician assistants to practice more independently.

In the Kentucky Health Issues poll last fall, 79 percent of Kentucky adults said they would be comfortable seeing a nurse practitioner for routine health care, and half of those people said they would be very comfortable. Eighty-one percent said they would be comfortable seeing a physician assistant for routine health care, and 42 percent of those respondents said they would be very comfortable.
Reported comfort was higher among people who had received care from a nurse practitioner or physician assistant in the past year; 86 percent of those people said they would be comfortable seeing an NP again for routine care. Eighty-eight
percent of those who had received care from a PA in the past year said they would be comfortable doing that again.

The poll also inquired about a proposed new “mid-level” profession: advanced dental hygiene practitioners. These practitioners would provide routine dental care, including diagnostic and preventive services such as filling cavities. Although advanced dental hygiene practitioners cannot currently be licensed to practice in Kentucky, polling data indicated 73 percent of Kentucky adults would be comfortable with such a practitioner providing routine dental care.

“As providers move to create a system of care that includes a range of skill sets and training in its care teams, new strategies emerge that hold promise to increase access to affordable care – not just in urban centers but also in rural and underserved communities,” said Dr. Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which sponsored the poll. “The data suggest that the public is very receptive to health care services from different types of clinicians.”

The poll, co-sponsored by the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, was taken Sept. 20
through Oct. 14 by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of
Cincinnati
. A random sample of 1,680 adults throughout Kentucky was
interviewed by landline and cell telephones. The poll’s margin of error is plus
or minus 2.5 percentage points. (Read more)

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