Employing a PA
Hiring a PA is a smart decision. PAs have been recognized by Congress and the President as crucial to improving U.S. healthcare. In the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Congress recognized PAs as one of three healthcare professions in primary care.
Because of their general medical background, PAs have flexibility in the types of medicine they can practice. That makes them responsive to changing healthcare needs. PAs are uniquely suited to provide preventive care services in all settings, from primary care to surgery.
PAs work in physician-PA teams (PDF) teams and are educated in a collaborative approach to healthcare, which improves coordination of care and can improve outcomes. They are educated in intense educational programs that last approximately 26 months (3 academic years). This relatively short training period means that PAs can quickly begin practice, helping offset the worsening physician shortages. PAs extend the care that physicians provide and increase access to care. “PAs work in physician-PA teams and are educated in a collaborative approach to healthcare”. Studies have consistently shown that PAs provide high-quality care with outcomes similar to physician-provided care. Additionally, studies have shown that incorporating PAs into office or hospital practice can improve outcomes. Studies have also shown that patients are just as satisfied with medical care provided by PAs as with that provided by doctors and do not distinguish between types of care providers.
Further, a practice employing a PA pays less in overhead costs for that PA compared to a physician, while having a healthcare provider on board who can provide most of the same services.
Here are some resources to help you integrate a PA into your practice:
AAPA offers leadership and management training for both PAs and NPs. Learn more about how to prepare your workforce for leadership opportunities.
Are you the next AAPA Employer of Excellence? Find out what makes an excellent employer and how you could be on the list.
Evaluate the professional competencies for physician assistants using the following assessment tools.