Increasing number of physician assistants handle more than 190 million patient visits in 2003

November 24, 2003

Alexandria, VA - The number of physician assistants (PAs) in clinical practice continues to increase, with more than 50,000 PAs in practice accounting for almost 200 million patient visits and writing over 200 million prescriptions.

The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) estimates there will be approximately 50,121 people in clinical practice as PAs at the beginning of 2004, according to the newly released Information Update: Projected Number of People in Clinical Practice as PAs as of January 1, 2004. This estimate more than doubles the number of PAs in clinical practice ten years ago. AAPA estimates there were 23,300 PAs in clinical practice at the beginning of 1994.

Approximately 192 million patient visits were made to physician assistants and 236 million medications prescribed or recommended by PAs in 2003, according to the Information Update: Number of Patient Visits Made to Physician Assistants and Number of Medications Prescribed or Recommended by Physician Assistants in 2003.

"With almost 200 million patient visits this year, it's clear that physician assistants have become a significant part of the health care system, providing quality care in all medical specialties," said Stephen Crane, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. "With the intensive training required for the profession and focus on team practice with physicians, PAs have gained widespread acceptance by the public as well as the medical community."

This year, more PAs (33%) practiced in family medicine than any other specialty. These PAs accounted for approximately 38 percent of the patient visits made to PAs during 2003 and approximately 44 percent of the total number of medications prescribed or recommended by PAs during 2003.

"The number of individuals entering the physician assistant profession continues to grow, driven by the fact that PAs are recognized as a solution to expanding access to health care," said Crane. "PAs also prefer to stay in clinical practice serving patients because they are incredibly satisfied with their profession," he added.

In a separate survey taken at the AAPA's annual conference in May 2003, 86 percent of physician assistants surveyed said they would become a PA if they had to choose their career over again, and 95 percent would recommend the PA profession to a promising student.

PAs practicing general pediatrics, family practice medicine, and emergency medicine reported more patient visits per week than did PAs practicing other specialties. The most prevalent disorders treated by PAs in 2003 were respiratory/ENT infections, muskuloskeletal disorders/injuries, allergic disorders, hypertension, and pain management. A full listing of the estimated number of visits to PAs in 2003 by specific disorders is available in the Information Update: Number of Visits to Physician Assistants for Selected Disorders in 2003. All information updates are posted on the AAPA Web site at www.aapa.org/research. Reporters may access additional information on PAs through the AAPA News Room at www.aapa.org/newsroom.

Physician assistants are licensed health professionals who practice medicine as members of a team working with supervising physicians. PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations in rural and urban settings. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and prescribe medications.
-end-
AAPA is the only national organization to represent physician assistants in all medical and surgical specialties. Founded in 1968, the Academy works to promote quality, cost-effective health care, and the professional and personal growth of PAs. For more information about the Academy and the PA profession, visit the AAPA's Web site, www.aapa.org.

American Academy of Physician Assistants

Related Health Care Articles from Brightsurf:

Study evaluates new World Health Organization Labor Care Guide for maternity care providers
The World Health Organization developed the new Labor Care Guide to support clinicians in providing good quality, women-centered care during labor and childbirth.

Six ways primary care "medical homes" are lowering health care spending
New analysis of 394 U.S. primary care practices identifies the aspects of care delivery that are associated with lower health care spending and lower utilization of emergency care and hospital admissions.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

Spending on primary care vs. other US health care expenditures
National health care survey data were used to assess the amount of money spent on primary care relative to other areas of health care spending in the US from 2002 to 2016.

MU Health Care neurologist publishes guidance related to COVID-19 and stroke care
A University of Missouri Health Care neurologist has published more than 40 new recommendations for evaluating and treating stroke patients based on international research examining the link between stroke and novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Large federal program aimed at providing better health care underfunds primary care
Despite a mandate to help patients make better-informed health care decisions, a ten-year research program established under the Affordable Care Act has funded a relatively small number of studies that examine primary care, the setting where the majority of patients in the US receive treatment.

International medical graduates care for Medicare patients with greater health care needs
A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital research team indicates that internal medicine physicians who are graduates of medical schools outside the US care for Medicare patients with more complex medical needs than those cared for by graduates of American medical schools.

The Lancet Global Health: Improved access to care not sufficient to improve health, as epidemic of poor quality care revealed
Of the 8.6 million deaths from conditions treatable by health care, poor-quality care is responsible for an estimated 5 million deaths per year -- more than deaths due to insufficient access to care (3.6 million) .

Under Affordable Care Act, Americans have had more preventive care for heart health
By reducing out-of-pocket costs for preventive treatment, the Affordable Care Act appears to have encouraged more people to have health screenings related to their cardiovascular health.

High-deductible health care plans curb both cost and usage, including preventive care
A team of researchers based at IUPUI has conducted the first systematic review of studies examining the relationship between high-deductible health care plans and the use of health care services.

Read More: Health Care News and Health Care Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.