Saturday, September 15, 2012

PAs Making Up for MD Shortage

The physician might still be captain of the health care ship, but the expected increase of insured Americans (due to aging boomers eligible for Medicare and the new health law expanding health insurance coverage) requires all hands on deck to prevent catastrophe, reports the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch.

Enter the physician assistant (PA).

The WSJ describes this highly competitive health care field as willing and ready to make up for the shortage of doctors. According to the article, “authors say [PAs] can fill about eighty percent of a doctor’s role. They can prescribe medication in all 50 states, run medical practices when the supervising doctor is in another part of the country, and even help perform endoscopies and heart procedures.”

The Texas Medical Association believes the solution to high quality patient care is to use a "team approach," where each member of the health care team provides their important skill set and training. Physicians will continue to provide patient care services, but they also will be called upon to manage the care provided by the entire team.

It essential patients receive the right care, at the right time, by the right professional, in the right venue. The association outlines this solution and many others in TMA's Healthy Vision 2020: Caring for Patients in a Time of Change.

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