NCCPA Survey Shows No. 1 Consumer Concern: Access to Good, Affordable Health Care

Over 94% of Survey Respondents Willing to See Physician Assistants

Access to health care tops the list of major issues facing U.S. consumers. (Graphic: Business Wire)

JOHNS CREEK, Ga.--()--A new consumer survey shows access to good and affordable health care is the number one concern of Americans today. Health care trumps five other major issues including national security, national debt, improving the quality of education, gun violence and protecting privacy rights, according to a survey recently conducted for the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

The survey captured opinions from 1,000 consumers across the U.S. aged 21-64 with health insurance. Respondents answered questions about different types of health care providers, access and cost. Significant findings include:

  • Over 50 percent of consumers believe there are not enough physicians to provide health care
  • Over 40 percent are concerned about being able to get appointments when they need them
  • Over 41 percent experience long wait times in the doctor’s office
  • Over 20 percent are treated but not educated about their health care
  • Over 94 percent are willing to be seen by a physician assistant (PA) instead of a physician

While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is designed to improve access for the previously uninsured or underinsured, this survey shows that those who already have health insurance are concerned about what the future holds, with almost half (47.3%) expecting their health care costs to increase and 51% indicating they believe there will be too few health care providers to meet patients’ needs over the coming decade.

“Improving the affordability of health insurance for the previously uninsured is clearly an admirable aim, but as millions of newly insured begin to seek more care and as the Boomers continue to age and consume more health care services, people are understandably worried that there will not be a doctor readily available when they need one,” says NCCPA Board Chairman James Cannon, D.H.A., PA-C. “Certified physician assistants are a big part of solving the issue of access to health care as they can do most things a doctor can do. As more patients enter the market seeking health care, PAs are well positioned to meet these demands by providing high quality care and educating patients on how to best manage and improve their own health.”

Certified PAs must pass rigorous certification requirements, are licensed by state medical boards and are held to the same high standards of care that physicians provide. Certified PAs practice medicine with physicians, and can take histories, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, prescribe medication, counsel patients on preventative health care, assist in surgery, and perform a variety of procedures.

“The model for health care going forward is to deliver the right care at the right time at the right cost,” adds Cannon. “Certified physician assistants are key players in this complex equation, delivering quality patient care and cost-effective outcomes in every specialty and clinical setting in the U.S.”

When asked what factors are most important when considering to whom to entrust their health care, the most often cited responses mentioned qualifications, certification, knowledge and competence. Other often cited factors included willingness to listen, communication skills, and availability.

The NCCPA study was conducted by Morpace Market Research and Consulting and assumes a 95% confidence level with a margin of error of +/-3.2%.

To download charts of survey results, visit our images gallery and please visit us on Facebook.

About the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants

The National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) is the only certifying organization for physician assistants (PAs) in the United States. The PA-C credential is awarded by NCCPA to PAs who fulfill certification, certification maintenance and recertification requirements. There are approximately 95,000 certified PAs in the U.S. today. In addition to its generalist credential, NCCPA launched its Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) program in 2011, for certified physician assistants practicing in Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Nephrology, Orthopaedic Surgery and Psychiatry; two new specialties (Pediatrics and Hospital Medicine) are new in 2014. For more information, please call (678) 417-8100 or visit


National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
Mary Rittle, PR Manager


National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants
Mary Rittle, PR Manager