Considerations in Adding a Mid-Level Practitioner to Your Practice

January 28th, 2011 2 Min read Considerations in Adding a Mid-Level Practitioner to Your Practice Blog
This is a guest post by Deborah Steven, Director, CompHealth Permanent Placement Medical groups around the country are increasingly recognizing the revenue-generating potential of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants. These tips will help you decide how to hire the best person for your practice, and get them up to speed quickly. Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant? Start by finding out what your third-party payers reimbursement policies are towards these non-physician providers. Most insurers - including Medicare and Medicaid - pay for both, but some may be more inclined to pay for services provided by one profession or the other. Check your state laws. NPs' and PAs' ability to prescribe varies from state to state. All NPs and PAs who prescribe controlled substances must register with the DEA, and some need a state controlled-substance license. State laws are rapidly changing as the needs for Primary Care providers become more challenging. Supervision requirements vary as well. Again, state laws are continuing to become less restrictive in this area. Typically, NPs are licensed to practice autonomously, whereas there are some states that are a bit more restrictive for PAs. The American Academy of Physician Assistants has a summary of PA-specific laws on their website at For details on state laws applicable to NPs, go to the National Council of State Board of Nursing's website at Assess Your Practice's Needs Both PAs and NPs do histories and physicals, identify and treat illnesses, do preventative and follow up care, manage chronic disease, order and interpret tests and educate patients. There is no "typical" NP or PA, and there is often overlap on their backgrounds and skills. You most likely have the possibility of considering either for your practice, and in doing so, will broaden your potential pool of candidates. There are Nurse Practitioners that are excellent surgical first assistants; and there are Physician Assistants who are experts in psychiatry. The differences between the NP and PA for clinical practice are diminishing. Both work in all specialties. Your candidate should be evaluated on their clinical skills and knowledge, prior experience, references, congeniality, flexibility, and salary demands. Once you have completed your preliminary screening, consider having your candidate shadow you for up to a full day. This gives you the opportunity to see how they interact with patients and staff, and you can assess their critical thinking skills. Compatibility is key! It all comes down to what works best for your practice and your patients. Your potential new hire must meet your expectations for customer service; have a positive attitude and a passion for the specialty. Let CompHealth find the right Nurse Practitioner of Physician Assistant for you.