August 4, 2021
Make the Case for Full Utilization of PAs
November 27, 2019
By Andrea Lowe, MHA, PA-C
There are lots of organizations that have embraced full utilization of PAs and recognize the power of the PA workforce. These organizations understand all the different roles PAs can play across many different specialties.
A workplace where PAs are effectively utilized will have high organizational visibility, with PAs so prominent on the website that a patient can call and make an appointment with one. Where PAs are highly utilized across all specialties and service lines, patients have greater access and fewer barriers to receive high-quality care.
Not all PAs are lucky enough to work at an organization that fully recognizes all the ways in which PAs contribute to the healthcare continuum. You can help your employer recognize the power of the PA workforce and fully utilize advanced practice providers (APPs), including PAs, across their organizations.
Understand state laws, regulations, and organization’s bylaws
You don’t need to be a state policy expert, but you do need to understand where improvements might be possible before making any formal suggestions. Use AAPA’s PA State Laws and Regulations as a resource. It covers everything from licensing requirements to prescribing and includes all 50 states and D.C. Become familiar with your state’s laws before you make any suggestions at your workplace. Similarly, review your organization’s bylaws. Those govern day-to-day PA practice, and you want to be as educated as possible when convincing your employer that PAs can be more highly utilized. You want to come up with solutions that can be implemented in accordance with your state laws and regulations and the organization’s bylaws.
Understand the workplace
Pay attention to how your organization utilizes PAs and have a good understanding of the way decisions are made. Does your Chief PA have a seat at the table? Who makes your staffing matrix decisions? Is it the CMO, or the COO? Each workplace is different, so be sure to make your case to the right person. It’s great to talk to PA colleagues to share feedback and ideas, but present solutions to the decision-making stakeholders to effect change.
Encourage PAs to look for committee opportunities. While they may not get much face time with senior directors or C-suite executives, many times they can volunteer to be on a committee and regularly interact with them. That committee may or may not be specifically focused on better utilizing the PA workforce, but PA membership will help to develop relationships with stakeholders and open doors for future conversations.
Each workplace will have very different solutions to fully utilize PAs. Be aware of what your state allows, what your organization allows, and whom you need to talk to in order to make your case. Run ideas by colleagues then work on a business plan with other stakeholders. Because financial aspects are fundamental to increasing utilization of PAs, be sure to loop in someone who is well versed in this area.
Understand that PAs make a difference every day
By showing up to work each day, and providing the best possible care for patients, PAs are already making the case for effective utilization. They educate patients and their families plus non-PA colleagues each day about what PAs can do and how they provide care.
Andrea Lowe, MHA, PA-C, is director of employer strategies for CHLM and AAPA. Contact her at [email protected].