3 Critical Things You Should Know about Physician Assistants

January 30th, 2014 2 Min read 3 Critical Things You Should Know about Physician Assistants Blog
pa-3-thingsThough they practice in every care setting and medical specialty, physician assistants (PA) are often underappreciated and misunderstood. Lisa Shock, a long-time PA and healthcare consultant, helps set the record straight about who physician assistants are and how they improve care for patients. Here are three things she says are important to know about physician assistants. 1. It’s “physician assistant,” not “physician’s assistant.” Ah, the dreaded 's. The correct title of our profession is PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT. There is NO 's. Please. We are not the property of the physician or hospital we may work with. There is no 's in physician assistant. Period. 2. PAs can. Physician assistants can:
  • Write prescriptions
  • Make referrals
  • Act as a primary care provider
  • Order tests
  • Interpret test results
  • Lead Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH)
  • Practice medicine without a physician physically present
  • Contribute to healthcare teams in every state in the US.
PAs are like type-O blood — we can be used anywhere. We can practice in every specialty and in every medical practice setting. It’s not surprising that practices and healthcare systems are utilizing us more to deliver high-quality, cost-effective medical care. 3. PAs are PArtners in healthcare delivery. Dr. Eugene Stead designed the physician assistant profession to have a team approach to healthcare. A significant amount of funds in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were allocated for programs that train primary care providers — not just physicians, but nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Health policy advocates believe that the well-known shortage in primary care will be alleviated, not just by having more doctors, but by having doctors who work in care delivery teams who can efficiently deliver quality primary care. PAs and NPs extend the reach of physicians and enhance patient care by helping create a team-focused, patient-centered practice. In the current PCMH environment, PAs and NPs participate in health promotion and coordination of care across transitions including the emergency room, hospital, and long-term care facilities. This coordination of efforts decreases readmissions and ultimately decreases overall healthcare costs. It is an exciting time in healthcare. I am proud to be a PA. For more information about physician assistants, visit the American Academy of Physician Assistants at http://www.aapa.org/.


Lisa Shock

Lisa Shock

Lisa P. Shock, MHS, PA-C, is a seasoned PA who is the President and CEO of Utilization Solutions in Healthcare – a specialty consultant company for physician practices and hospitals, offering a wide range of services to help implement and improve upon the utilization of PAs and NPs in the health care system. Contact her at lisa@pushpa.biz

See all articles from this author