Health Care Workforce Experts Available to Comment on IOM Report on Aging Baby Boomers and Impending Medical System Crisis

Physician Assistants will play a role in addressing the problem

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), the only national organization representing physician assistants (PA) in all medical and surgical specialties, has experts to weigh in on the challenges outlined in the Institute of Medicine report released today on the health care workforce and aging baby boomers. There are an estimated 68,124 PAs in clinical practice in the United States.

Freddi Segal-Gidan, PA-C, Ph.D., director of postgraduate training for PAs in geriatrics at the University of Southern California Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, said Monday that PAs are an important component of comprehensive solutions to the problem because PAs can be readily trained for the changing needs of the workforce.

As you pursue analysis and perspectives on this story, please consider these AAPA experts. If you need assistance in contacting these resources, please call our office.

-- Freddi Segal-Gidan, PA-C, Ph.D., director of postgraduate training for PA geriatrics at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, University of Southern California, and a member of the American Geriatrics Society. Reach her at 562-401-8130, or [email protected]

-- Steven D. Johnson, PA-C, president of the Society for PAs Caring for the Elderly and a geriatrics care educator, has been involved in the care of older Americans for more than a decade. Reach him at 650-853-4837, or [email protected]

-- Ellen Rathfon, AAPA director of professional affairs, can provide some analysis and insight into PAs and geriatrics. Reach her at 703-836-2272, ext. 3210, or [email protected]

Physician assistants are licensed health care professionals who practice medicine as members of a team with their supervising physicians. PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations in rural and urban settings. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and prescribe medications.

Within the physician-PA partnership, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. In addition to clinical practice, PAs may also be found in education, research, and administration.

Because of the close working relationship PAs have with physicians, PAs are educated in the medical model designed to complement physician training. On graduation, physician assistants take a national certification examination developed by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants in conjunction with the National Board of Medical Examiners. To maintain their national certification, PAs must complete 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and take a recertification exam every six years.

For additional information about physician assistants or the physician assistant profession, visit the Academy's Web site, www.aapa.org.

SOURCE American Academy of Physician Assistants

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