American Academy of Physician Assistants

Employing a PA


What Is a PA? | Become a PA | Employ a PA


Hiring a PA (PDF) 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:

The Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management

The AAPA Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management brings together programs, advisory services and other offerings for PA employers and current and aspiring PA executives.

Professional Advisory Services

Insights, facts and resources to help employers (PDF) integrate PAs into their hospital or health system.

PA JobSource

Resources to help you find qualified PAs for your practice.

AMA Profile Credentialing Service

AMA Profile is a secure, online service for health-related organizations to help them with credential verification of PAs.

Team Practice Resources

Tools and information designed to enhance the potential of the unique Physician-PA team.

Guide for New PA Employers

A two-page guide for PA employers (PDF) with guidance on hiring, licensure, credentialing and creating an effective team practice.

Hiring a PA

This four-page issue brief explains the benefits employing a PA (PDF) brings to physicians, patients and practices.

PAs and the Fair Labor Standards Act

Should PAs be paid as exempt or non-exempt employees? The answer is, "Yes." Explore the details of the federal law.

Calculating PA Productivity

This collection of information highlights the considerations and challenges associated with calculating PA productivity and financial contribution to the practice.

PA Competency Assessment
Tools and resources for evaluating effective and appropriate application of medical knowledge, interpersonal and communication skills, patient care, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems-based practice.

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