PAs in primary care: Current status and workforce implications

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Abstract

Objectives:

Understanding the PA primary care workforce is an initial step toward greater use of primary care PAs in new healthcare delivery models. This study sought to describe primary care PA practice as it compares with PA practice in other specialties.

Methods:

Data from two 2015 national American Academy of Physician Assistants surveys were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Statistically significant differences between primary care and specialty PAs were assessed using tests of column proportions and tests of column means.

Results:

Compared with PAs in specialties, primary care PAs were older, saw more patients per week, and spent less time consulting with physicians. In addition, higher percentages were Hispanic, had a record of military service, and had plans to leave their specialty or retire.

Conclusions:

Primary care PAs appear to possess unique strengths; however, challenges to maintaining a primary care PA workforce are substantial.

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