Announcement of Public Workshop, "Examining Health Care Competition" ("Health Care Workshop") Project No. P13-1207
Physician Assistants (PAs) need to be given more autonomy and the authority to work independent of other health care practitioners, specifically Physicians, if the healthcare sector is to succeed in keeping up with adequate and thorough patient care in the future. Pas are more than capable of providing care to patients without needing to be supervised to the extent that is currently required in most states. Pas received rigorous, high-quality education that usually results in earning a Master's Degree, and they normally have to have thousands of hours of healthcare-related experience before even being accepted into a PA Program at most colleges and universities. As an example, the PA Program my wife is currently in required approximately 64-65 Master's Degree-level credits to be completed in just 14 months, followed by 10 five-week clinical rotations that results in thousands of hours of clinical work. Her program is 27 months in length and results in earning a Master of Medical Science (M.M.S.) degree. That is why I believe it may be time for 'PA' to stand for 'Physician Associate' rather than 'Physician Assistant'. PAs should no longer considered to be 'assistants' to anyone since they have proven they can act independently and make sound, confident (and most importantly correct) decisions in the performance of healthcare. Pas of the future should be seen as a "teammate" of Physicians and part of the overall healthcare "team" of a medicine practice or organization. PAs and NPs received very similar (and even complimentary) training, yet NPs enjoy being known as "practitioners". Professional titles are of great importance since they, in part, explain to the public what it is they do. The quality of care PAs provide has now risen above the title they are currently known by. I strongly urge the FTC to consider the fact that PAs provide such a high quality of care to their patients, outside of any advice or consulting with Physicians, and create regulations that will allow PAs to exercise greater autonomy in their workplace and greater authority over what they do and how they perform their work. Thank you for your time and consideration.