There are more than 123,000 nationally-certified, state-licensed PAs in the U.S. PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers. They practice and prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of U.S. territories, and the uniformed services.
PA scope of practice is determined by state law, the PA’s education and experience, facility policies, and patient needs.1 In many, but not all, states, a PA’s scope of practice must be similar to that of the physician with whom the PA practices. A typical PA performs physical examinations, diagnoses and treats illnesses, orders and interprets lab tests, performs procedures, assists in surgery, and enhances healthcare coordination. Numerous studies have found that the quality of care PAs provide is comparable to that of physicians.2-4 In Wisconsin, PAs practice under their own license in primary care and all medical and surgical subspecialities. Wisconsin PAs have had full prescriptive authority since 1998, meaning they can write for the same medications as a physician, including II-V controlled medications if they hold a DEA license.
PAs have worked in teams with physicians since the birth of the PA profession. WAPA remains firmly committed to the PA/physician team and states that “optimal team practice occurs when PAs have the ability to consult with a physician or other qualified medical professional, as indicated by the patient’s condition and the standard of care, and in accordance with the PA’s training, experience, and current competencies.”
The Wisconsin Council on Medical Education and Workforce (WCMEW) recently found that Wisconsin could face a shortage of as many as 4,000 physicians by 2035.5 PAs are uniquely poised to help Wisconsin address this shortage by expanding access to care in every clinical and surgical setting across the State.
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1: AAPA Model State Legislation for PAs. American Academy of PAs. https://www.aapa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Model_State
_Legislation_May_2016.pdf. Published August 2015. Accessed January 24, 2018.
2: Smith G, Waibel B, Evans P, Goettler C. A recipe for success: advanced practice professionals decrease trauma readmissions. Critical Care Medicine. 2013;41(12):A149.
3: Virani SS, Maddox ™, Chan PA, et al. Provider type and quality of outpatient cardiovascular disease care. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015;66(16):1803-12.
4: Xing J, Mukamel DB, Temkin-Greener H. Hospitalizations among nursing home residents in the last year of life: nursing home characteristics and variation in potentially avoidable hospitalizations. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013;61(11):1900-8.
5:New report shows Wisconsin is making progress on physician shortage, but warns of a looming crisis. Wisconsin Council on Medical Education & Workforce. http://www.wha.org/Data/Sites/1/pdf/WCMEWnrPhysReport2016Aug23.pdf. Accessed February 7, 2018.
WAPA Resource Library (Member-Only):