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UHS recognizes key role of physician assistants

October 09, 2018

UHS recognizes its many physician assistants during National Physician Assistant Week, Oct. 6 to 12.

This is a good time to think about how PAs are making a growing contribution to the quality and availability of healthcare services today, according to the healthcare website merritthawkins.com.

"There are more than 110,000 PAs practicing in the United States today, about one-third of them in primary care and two-thirds in specialty care settings," the site noted.

PAs are valued in part because they offer patients access to services at a time when the supply of physicians nationwide is constrained.

PAs are nationally certified and state licensed to practice medicine. They are educated at the graduate level, with nearly all PAs receiving a master’s degree upon graduation from an accredited PA program.

PAs are trained to diagnose, treat and prescribe medications and make lifesaving diagnostic and therapeutic decisions, while working autonomously or in collaboration with other members of the healthcare team, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

"As trusted healthcare providers, studies have shown that when PAs are able to practice to the full extent of their training and experience, patient access to care increases, hospital readmission rates and lengths of stay decrease, and infection rates go down," the academy said in a statement.

If you see a PA any time through Oct. 12, wish them a happy National PA Week.