Physician assistant: Level of care provided by PAs and NPs very similar

LETTER — Posted Jan. 24, 2011

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Regarding "Bringing PAs and NPs on board: What to do if you're hiring" (Article, Jan. 10): As a physician assistant, I appreciated this look at the PA and nurse practitioner professions. I was, however, concerned by the article's inaccurate assertions about the scope of practice by physician assistants.

The assertions in the article that "Physician assistants tend to carry out more procedures," and the quote from a nurse practitioner asserting that NPs are better suited to "evaluation and management" could not be more inaccurate. The level of care that is provided by PAs and NPs is very similar.

The nation's physician assistants help deliver health care in all specialties, and our strong and historic presence in primary care settings is counter to this "PAs as technicians" assertion.

Thousands of PAs practice with a high level of autonomy, strengthened by the support, input and consultation from physicians and other professional colleagues.

Jim Anderson, PA, Seattle

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2011/01/24/edlt0124.htm.

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