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Debunking Common Myths About Physician Assistants

Physician assistants (PAs) are some of the hardest working professionals in the healthcare industry. They are held to some of the highest standards aside from physicians and are an integral part of any medical practice.

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That said, there are some myths needing to be cleared up about physician assistants and what they contribute to a practice.

MYTH 1: PAs Are Educated Like Nurse Practitioners

Physician assistants are trained in the medical model instead of the nursing model. PAs also graduate with close to 2,000 more hours of graduate-level clinical training compared to nurse practitioners (NPs).

MYTH 2: PAs Are Held to a Lower Standard than Physicians

Much like physicians, PAs must be certified and licensed by state medical boards and must pass a rigorous test to do so. PAs are also required to keep up with their certification by passing an exam every 10 years.

MYTH 3: PAs Wish to be Independent of Physicians

PAs are part of a collaborative team of healthcare professionals and do nothing more than support the physician and overall practice. What a PA works best with is autonomy that allows them to serve patients to the best of their ability.

MYTH 4: PAs Cost Too Much to Employ Due to Supervision Requirements

Actually, PAs lower the cost to the practice while simultaneously improving the quality of care provided. An average PA earns about $90,000 per year, half of what an average physician makes. When the PA sees a patient, insurance covers 100% of authorized fees while Medicare covers 85%. Simply put, PAs bring in similar revenues at half the price.

MYTH 5: PAs Only See Patients the Physician Allows

Who patients actually see is more a matter of scheduling than delegating. Usually, a PA will handle walk-in same day appointments as well as their own schedule of returning patients. On average, a PA will treat about 86 patients a week.

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