PAs Increasingly Likely to Work in Specialties
Physician assistants are increasingly more likely to head into specialties such as surgery and emergency medicine rather than primary care, according to the News & Observer
Researchers at the Duke University PA program studied the job choices of PAs from 1997 to 2006 and found that the number of PAs going into primary care declined to 41% in 2005, from 54% in 1996.
The reasons are often economic. (Specialty) care is expensive, so hospitals, clinics and private doctor practices have hired PAs to handle many medical procedures at a fraction of the cost charged by a cardiologist or neurosurgeon.
"There's a good argument to make that physician assistants in specialty care may be economically good," said Perri Morgan, director of P.A. research at the Duke University Physician Assistant Program.
At the same time, she said, the trend could make it harder for people to find basic treatment, particularly in rural and poor communities.
The article also discusses the NCCPA's announcement that it would offer PA specialty certification, which will require additional coursework, in 2011.
Mike Borden, chief executive officer of the North Carolina Academy of PAs, said that his academy and the AAPA prefer the traditional model of PAs serving poor and rural communities, but that they need to recognize that PAs are increasingly heading into specialties.
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