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Nurse Practitioners Helping Distressed Areas

Center for Health Workforce Studies Takes in-depth Look at New York's NPs

Nearly 70 percent of NPs in rural New York areas are working in federally designated primary care health professional shortage areas, according to a new study by the Center for Health Workforce Studies.

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 17, 2017) -- Nurse Practitioners in New York are gravitating to areas around the state with the greatest healthcare need, according to a new report by UAlbany's Center for Health Workforce Studies.

With an estimated 13,000 active nurse practitioners (NPs) practicing in New York, the profession features a wide regional variation in their distribution, according to the report. Statewide, about 43 percent of NPs are working in federally designated primary health professional shortage areas (HPSAs). Among rural NPs, the figure jumps to nearly 70 percent.

HPSAs, according to the Health Resources & Services Administration, are medically underserved areas/populations that are designated "as having too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty and/or high elderly population."

"We found that 43 percent of NPs in the state work in HPSAs. Nearly 70 percent of NPs in rural areas work in primary care HPSAs, compared with 39 percent of NPs in urban areas,” said Robert Martiniano, Senior Program Manager at CHWS “This information helps us to better quantify the contribution of NPs in expanding access to care for underserved populations."

The in-depth analysis completed by CHWS is based on responses to a mandatory NP re-certification survey received from September 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016. Since NPs must re-certify every three years, this analysis represents approximately forty-five percent of all NPs in New York.

Key findings include:

  • Almost a third of active NPs practice in primary care settings in New York State. A higher percentage of the state’s NPs practice in specialty settings, including cardiology, endocrinology, and dermatology, among others.
  • There are an estimated 1,180 active psychiatric NPs in the state, with more psychiatric NPs per 100,000 population in rural areas than in urban areas of the state.
  • Just over half of NPs work in health centers, clinics, and hospital outpatient departments, while another 18 percent work in physician offices.
  • While NPs in the state are less racially and ethnically diverse than the general population, NPs in younger age cohorts are more diverse than older NP cohorts.
  • More than 90 percent of active NPs in the state report no near-term plans to retire, to significantly reduce patient care hours, or to change practice locations either within or outside of the state.

“Timely information on the supply and distribution of the state’s nurse practitioners is critical for effective health workforce planning. Analysis of data drawn from a required state survey of NPs contributes to a better understanding of this workforce,” stated Dr. Jean Moore, CHWS Director. “There are no other state or national data sources that can provide a comparable level of depth about the NP workforce in New York.”

To view the report, visit the CHWS website at

Established in 1996, CHWS is an academic research organization, based at the School of Public Health, University at Albany, State University of New York. The mission of CHWS is to provide timely, accurate data and conduct policy relevant research about the health workforce. The research conducted by CHWS supports and promotes health workforce planning and policymaking at local, regional, state, and national levels. Today, CHWS is a national leader in the field of health workforce studies, and the only HRSA-sponsored center with a unique focus on the oral health workforce.

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