Beyond Physicians: The Effect of Licensing and Liability Laws on the Supply of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

40 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2018

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2018

Abstract

The increased use of nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) represents an important option for increasing access to healthcare. I explore the effect of two types of laws on the supply of NPs and PAs: occupational licensing laws that limit the practices of NPs and PAs and caps on noneconomic damages. Relaxing licensing laws to allow NPs to practice with less physician oversight increases the supply of NPs in areas with few practicing physicians by 60 percent—though the size of this increase decreases as the supply of physicians grows. I find similar, but weaker, evidence for granting PAs more autonomy. Noneconomic damages caps increase the supply of both NPs and PAs by about 60 percent at the lowest levels of physician supply. Examining the effects of these laws on the prevalence of health professional shortage areas, I find that licensing laws have meaningful effects on access to care.

Suggested Citation

McMichael, Benjamin J., Beyond Physicians: The Effect of Licensing and Liability Laws on the Supply of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants (December 2018). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 15, Issue 4, pp. 732-771, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3279646 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12198

Benjamin J. McMichael (Contact Author)

University of Alabama - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

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