Harris Poll Surveys Reveal Overwhelming Support for Updating PA Practice Laws

Alexandria, Va. (September 20, 2023) – Nine in 10 adults across 10 states support updating physician associate/assistant (PA) practice laws to allow healthcare systems to fully utilize their workforce, according to a collection of state surveys conducted by The Harris Poll.

The American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) released the reports, which explore patient experiences in California, Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington, in follow-up to a national Harris Poll survey AAPA released in May.

“The robust research conducted by The Harris Poll affirms that across the country, patients are feeling anxious and uncertain about their well-being and the future of healthcare. They see PAs as an essential but underutilized group of medical providers whose experience and expertise position them to expand access to care,” AAPA CEO Lisa M. Gables, CPA, said.

This state-level sentiment mirrors the national finding that 91% of U.S. adults support updating PA laws. The research also found that 9 in 10 adults say PAs improve the quality of healthcare.

The surveyed states collectively form a diverse cross-section of the American healthcare landscape. The surveys capture a wide range of healthcare experiences, from urban to rural settings and diverse patient pools, reflecting the challenges and strengths within different regions of the country. Further, these 10 states represent varied PA regulatory environments, providing a more nuanced understanding of healthcare dynamics and highlighting the importance of PA practice laws in shaping patient care.

“Our already overburdened healthcare system is expecting a shortage of more than 3 million healthcare workers by 2026. The overwhelming support for updating PA practice laws underscores that there are at-the-ready solutions lawmakers should embrace,” AAPA President and Chair of the Board Folusho E. Ogunfiditimi, DM, MPH, PA-C, DFAAPA said.

The surveys also asked respondents about issues related to cost, access, and care coordination.

Key state-level findings include the following:

  • Workforce concerns: 68% of U.S. adults are concerned healthcare workforce shortages will impact them as a patient. Adults in Virginia and Washington were more likely to voice these concerns (77% in both states).
  • Delayed or skipped care: 44% of U.S. adults have skipped or delayed healthcare services they needed in the past two years. Adults in Oklahoma and South Dakota were more likely to report skipping or delaying care (55% in both states).
  • Resource shortages: 42% of U.S. adults say that their community does not have the resources needed to keep people healthy. Tennesseans and Oklahomans were more likely to report insufficient resources (47% and 46% respectively).
  • Healthcare coordination challenges: 65% of U.S. adults say coordinating and managing healthcare is overwhelming and time consuming. Adults in Texas and Washington were more likely to report these concerns (71% in both states).


The research was conducted online in the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of The American Academy of Physician Associates among n=2,519 adults age 18+. The survey was conducted from February 23 – March 9, 2023. In addition to the national sample, oversamples were collected in six states including California (n=513), Massachusetts (n=503), Oklahoma (n=507), Tennessee (n=505), Virginia (n=509), and Washington (n=518). Surveys were fielded in Florida (n=510), North Carolina (n=509), South Dakota (n=507), and Texas (n=508), from July 26 – August 13, 2023. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.

Data from the national sample was weighted by race where necessary and by gender, region, education, marital status, household size, employment, household income, language proficiency (for Hispanic respondents only), and propensity to be online to bring respondents in line with their actual proportions in the population, and then combined using a post-weight.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, as subject to other multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including but not limited to coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in our surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the national sample data is accurate to within +2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. This credible interval will be wider among subsets of the surveyed population of interest.


Media Contact:
Jenni Roberson, 703.380.2764

About the American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA)
AAPA is the national membership organization for all physician associates/physician assistants (PAs). PAs are licensed clinicians who practice medicine in every specialty and setting. Trusted, rigorously educated and trained healthcare professionals, PAs are dedicated to expanding access to care and transforming health and wellness through patient-centered, team-based medical practice. PA has been named one of the best jobs overall and one of the best healthcare jobs for the sixth year in a row by U.S. News & World Report. The PA profession ranked number three this year in Best STEM jobs. Learn more about the profession at aapa.org and engage through FacebookLinkedInInstagram, and Twitter.