PAs Practice Medicine and Increase Access to Quality Care
The physician assistant (PA) profession is growing faster than ever at a time when Americans need quality medical providers in every community. Dr. Gary A. Levengood and Sports Medicine South is proud to recognize the PAs on our healthcare team, Diana K. Dean and Harris A. Patel, during National PA Week, Oct. 6-12.
There are 100,000 PAs in America who are nationally certified and licensed at the state level to practice medicine, and are authorized to prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories, with the exception of Puerto Rico.
“Our country’s healthcare system is going through a complete overhaul and focusing on quality care. Because PAs practice medicine in every specialty and setting, they can help increase access to quality medicine for patients,” said John McGinnity, MPS, PA-C, DFAAPA, president of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
Among many medical services, PAs can obtain medical histories, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, perform medical procedures like joint injections, counsel patients on preventive healthcare, assist in surgery, write prescriptions and make rounds in nursing homes and hospitals.
PAs are educated through intense, three-year, graduate-level programs that require the same prerequisite courses as medical schools. As part of their education, PAs complete at least 2,000 hours of clinical rotations. To maintain their certification and licenses, PAs earn 100 hours of CME every two years and recertify through a national exam as medical generalists every 10 years.
Studies identify high-quality care with physician-PA teams, the quality of care provided by PAs is comparable to that of physicians, PAs enhance care coordination and that practices and institutions relying on PAs are more cost- effective than those without PAs.
Dr. Gary A. Levengood states, “I have worked with Physician Assistants for a long time in my practice and I have complete faith that PA’s make healthcare more efficient. The mission of Sports Medicine South is to provide the best medical care for all of our patients. It is a fact that Physician Assistants help get our patients BEYOND BETTER.”