The ranks of physician assistants are expected to grow by 30% between 2014 and 2024. They can practice and prescribe medicine in all 50 states at almost half the median cost of an MD.
Hospital HR departments often have two goals that can be very much at odds with one another: first, hire talented clinicians who can offer the best care; second, cut staffing costs.
But some are finding there's a way to do both.
Physician assistants can practice and prescribe medicine in all 50 states; they can examine, diagnose, and treat patients, interpret lab test results, assist in surgery, and take care of routine patient care.
And they cost less than physicians.
PAs have been certified since 1975, their ranks have doubled since the 1980s, and the number of PAs is expected to exceed 124,000 by 2025.
It's not hard to see why the profession is growing, says Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed. D, PA-C, president and CEO of the National Commission of the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of PAs is anticipated to grow by 30% between 2014 and 2024, adding 28,700 PAs to the US workforce.
Lena J. Weiner is an associate editor at HealthLeaders Media.