At a time when many practices must do more with less, some experts say that adding one or more physician assistants (PA) to your payroll can help make practice access--and revenue--more abundant, according to an article from HCPLive.
"There is pretty much no way you can hire a physician assistant, even if they were brand new with no experience, and they wouldn't positively impact a practice's bottom line," Jay Amrien, director of the physician assistant program at Bryant University, told the publication. "When you look at my salary compared to a physician's salary, I make significantly less. But I can tell you that where I work, I bring in the same reimbursement that the practice that a physician would."
But one of the keys to making a PA's financial impact meaningful, according to Amrien, is to not use these professionals to ease physicians' workload with existing patients, but to help the practice expand to bring in more patients as well. One specialty in which this idea works particularly well, he added, is in orthopedic surgery. "Clearly, if you have a physician assistant as a first assist, you can have a second orthopedic surgeon in a second operating room running another case," he said.
Health economists also point toward PAs as part of the solution for the looming physician shortage in the United States, FierceHealthcare reported. Nonphysician primary care providers such as PAs, nurse practitioners, social workers and pharmacists working under a team-based care model could fill many anticipated gaps in care, Health Economist Gail Wilensky told NPR. Indeed, team-based care is widely thought to be more cost-effective, according to the article.