This study evaluated the number of Stage 4 chronic kidney disease (CKD) education classes taught by physician assistants (PAs) and NPs.
Descriptive analysis of data from the CMS Public Use File were calculated for 2010-2011 kidney disease education classes with particular focus on PAs and NPs.
In 2010, 4,580 individual and 1,612 group classes were held; one-third of individual classes and two-thirds of group classes were taught by PAs and NPs. In 2011, with a 32% increase in classes, the percentages of PA and NP instructors stayed the same. PAs and NPs predominantly teach home classes, group classes, and outpatient hospital classes.
Less than 7% of eligible patients were offered education classes in 2010-2011. An examination of Medicare billing data shows PAs and NPs are underused in patient education, an area in which they are uniquely qualified.
Kim Zuber is a PA at Metropolitan Nephrology in Alexandria, Virginia, and past chair of the National Kidney Foundation's (NKF) Council of Advanced Practitioners. Jane Davis is an NP in the department of nephrology at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, publications chair for the NKF Council of Advanced Practitioners, and a member of the NKF board of directors. The authors have indicated no relationships to disclose relating to the content of this article.