Socioeconomic influences in patient assignment to PA or MD providers.
Previous research conducted in solo fee-for-service physicians' offices in southern Appalachia reports that physicians treat patients of higher socioeconomic status and PAs treat those of lower status. However, these findings may not necessarily apply to other types of primary care practices, and the data were compiled more than ten years ago. Since then, the PA profession has greatly expanded, necessitating more current investigation (especially into publicly subsidized primary care settings). The original research reported here was undertaken to provide a more contemporary analysis of patient triage based on socioeconomic status. Three rural primary care centers in northern Florida were examined. Data show no consistent or substantively significant relationships between the patients' social status and the type of provider.