Nurse practitioners, physician assistants playing larger roles in health care — why some doctors are pushing back

When nurse practitioner Payal Patel changed medical practices, patient Ni-Ima Lattimer went with her. The Hempstead woman said she’s more comfortable with her and other nurses than with physicians.

“She treats me like a person-patient, not just another case or number,” said Lattimer, 39, who has lupus.

Patel is one of more than 41,000 nurse practitioners in New York, one of the fastest-growing professions in health care.

Many patients who in the past may have visited doctors for routine health care needs now instead often see nurse practitioners or physician assistants, who also increasingly play key roles in hospitals. The expansion in nurse practitioners and physician assistants comes amid a continued shortfall of primary care physicians.

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