With National Physician Assistants (PA) Week again upon us, it's important to recognize just how much these practitioners are crucial to today's healthcare industry. With the ongoing shortage of physicians affecting most areas of the United States, locum tenens physician assistants are being more and more sought after to bridge gaps in care.
According to the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), there were more than 115,000 practicing PAs in the United States at the end of 2016. Some additional facts about physician assistants, from the locum tenens book "Have Stethoscope, Will Travel," written by Staff Care leaders, include:
- About one-third of PAs work in primary care, with about two-thirds specializing in other areas of care.
- PAs can write prescriptions in all 50 states.
- The number of Pas has increased 100% over the last ten years.
- Physician assistants earn a medium salary of $91,000.
- Most PAs work in clinical practice, but more than 5,000 of them work alone or in a healthcare administration, research or public health facility.
- 62% of physician assistants are women; 38% are men.
- 21% of PAs are 30 or younger, 56% are 31 to 50 years old, and 23% are 51 or older.
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The Advantages of Hiring Locum Tenens Physician Assistants
More and more, locum tenens physician assistants have been utilized by the healthcare industry. In fact, Staff Care has gone from receiving zero requests from its clients for locum tenens PAs and NPs to having these requests comprise over 10% of Staff Care’s total days requested in 2012. And, according to our 2017 Survey of Temporary Physician Staffing Trends, one in 10 healthcare employers reported utilizing locum physician assistants at some point during the previous year.
Besides helping to offset the effects of the physician shortage, the benefits of utilizing locum tenens physician assistants include:
- Cost. Locum tenens PAs can be a cost-effective way to deliver care in a setting where a physician is not always required. The rate for locum physician assistants is less than that of primary care physicians, and they're paid a daily rate.
- Availability. Locum tenens PAs can mobilize to different locations faster than physicians, and their state licensure process averages three to eight weeks, making it easier to get credentialed to work around the country.
- Stability. Average contract length for physician assistants tends to be longer than those for physicians, which offers more stability and continuity of care in healthcare facilities.
- Versatility. Physician assistants aren't just limited to working in hospitals. They can also practice in medical homes and ACOs, and are quickly becoming the key providers in home assessments and corporate wellness.
- Marketing. Healthcare facilities using locum tenens PAs have the ability to test market new services before hiring full-time physicians.
Interested in utilizing locum tenens physician assistants for your practice or facility? Let us know! You can contact us here, or submit a locums staffing request now using this brief form.
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