Physicians often ask me whether they should consider hiring a PA and how to integrate one into their practice.
Much like a sports team’s game plan, every practice functions differently. But if you need to draft a new player, consider what areas of your practice could use some relief and what skills that player needs to complement your practice. A PA can be the leadoff batter, collaborating partner, supporting player, or the rebounder.
At the core of PA training is team-based care through the medical model. We practice with our physician partners and enjoy being the all-around players that execute the fundamentals of medicine in a way that expands the team’s capabilities, resources and positive outcomes.
Here are seven ways PAs may benefit your practice:
1. Make room for more patients. If you are already working overtime, another provider may be the only way you can grow your practice. For services that are incident-to a physician’s services, the reimbursement rate is at 100 percent. For other services, reimbursement is 85 percent of physicians' fees. Our ability to see our own panel of patients, or share yours, will generate revenue and more than cover the cost of our salary and benefits.
2. Free you up to handle the most-complex medical cases or those that will generate more revenue. For example, surgeons want to operate and can turn over some of the pre-op and post-op care to PAs.
3. Improve your work-life balance. Having a PA manage patients with chronic conditions, help manage phone calls, and share other responsibilities can give you back hours in your day.
4. Give patients what they want. Patients want to spend time with their provider, and you want to extend this coverage so patients feel good about their care. When you and a PA work as a coordinated team, patients will not feel slighted if you do not see them on each visit.
5. Assume administrative roles. PAs can create wellness programs, initiate and lead group appointments, and perform as lead PA or the clinical interface to the business office.
6. Improve care coordination. PAs can help you coordinate care between your office and other providers or locations, for example specialists, physical therapists, or hospitals/outpatient surgery centers.
7. Focus on CMS requirements. There are many new requirements for quality outcomes, EHR use, and patient engagement. A PA can give the team the additional knowledge, skills, and time that it needs to hit these goals.
Currently there are approximately 100,000 certified PAs in the United States. According to the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), every week certified PAs work 3.8 million hours enabling them to increase healthcare access by treating 7 million patients in every clinical setting across the U.S.
PAs can increase team wins:
Ultimately, patients seek healthcare from providers with whom they are most comfortable and get the best service. PAs can help meet the needs of your most demanding patients, deliver on quality and satisfaction targets, and increase revenue.
So if you are considering adding a player to your team, now is the time to make your move. Assess current strengths, determine skills needed, and draft a PA to be the utility player, who can help bring your team to the next level.