Readers and Tweeters See Ways to Shore Up Primary Care

by | Jul 17, 2023 | Health

Letters to the Editor is a periodic feature. We welcome all comments and will publish a selection. We edit for length and clarity and require full names.

Empowering PAs

The article “Primary Care Disrupted: Will the Doctor See You Now? The Health System’s Changing Landscape” (June 28) devalues a key solution critical to meeting our nation’s health care needs: PAs (physician associates/physician assistants).

Our country’s more than 168,300 PAs provide critical care to patients in all communities, including those where physicians are unable to meet patient demand. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the Harris Poll found that most adults (68%) have seen a PA and nearly 6 in 10 have seen the same PA more than once. Of those surveyed, 93% of adults agree that PAs add value to health care teams, and 90% said PAs increase their access to care and make it easier to get an appointment when they need it. These findings are consistent with the PA approach to health care: to transform health through patient-centered, team-based practice in order to help achieve greater health equity in underserved communities.

As the physician shortage worsens, it is critical that lawmakers in states and the federal government enact policies that ensure PAs are able to practice and provide care to the fullest extent of their education and training. The future of our nation’s health care system depends upon the PA workforce being fully empowered to be a part of the patient-focused solution.

— Lisa M. Gables, CEO of the American Academy of Physician Associates, Alexandria, Virginia

On Twitter, Ellen Andrews, the executive director of the Connecticut Health Policy Project, had this to say:

Primary care needs to change, embrace new ways of connecting to patients, to expand capacity and reach patients who want a new, more convenient model — Will the Doctor See You Now? The Health System’s Changing Landscape …

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