The issue of physician shortagesis being exacerbated by an aging population and increased access tohealth insurance. (Photo: Shutterstock)

A new study confirms what many patients haveexperienced in recent years: a visit to the doctor's office doesn'talways mean seeing a physician.

Office visits where nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) were the main healthcare provider increased 129 percent between the years of 2012 and2016, the study found. At the same time, patient visits tophysicians in primary care setting decreased 18 percent.

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