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The physician assistant (PA) profession was established in Bulgaria in 2014 in response to a growing shortage of medical staff and was modeled on the United States experience. Feldschers provided a similar role in Bulgaria from 1878 to 1999 but feldscher training was discontinued in 1999 because of a physician surplus. However, healthcare in Bulgaria changed after the country joined the European Union, and some physicians left for better opportunities elsewhere. The loss of physicians and an aging population meant that PAs were seen as a strategy to offset Bulgaria's growing healthcare demand.