Resources

DEMOGRAPHICS

2016 AAPA Salary and Demographics Report for Pennsylvania

PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT DEFINITION
The physician assistant (PA) is a unique health care provider who is licensed by the State Board of Medicine or certified by the State Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners. The Boards approve physician assistants who are of good character and reputation, have graduated from a physician assistant training program certified by the Board, and have passed a national certifying examination by the Board

The PA is neither a physician nor a physician trainee, e.g., resident, intern, or medical student
At the direction of a supervising physician and as his employee, the PA provides medical services and other tasks as allowed by law

The physician assistant augments the physician’s data gathering abilities in order to assist the supervising physician in reaching and instituting care plans for the physician’s patients

Tasks performed by physician assistants include screening patients to determine the need for medical attention, reviewing patient records to determine health status, taking a patient history, performing a physical examination, recording patient data, making decisions regarding data gathering and appropriate management and treatment of patients being seen for the initial evaluation or the follow-up evaluation of a previously diagnosed and stabilized condition, preparing patient summaries, initiating requests for commonly performed initial laboratory studies, collecting specimens, identifying findings and abnormal findings on history, physical examinations and lab studies, initiating evaluation and emergency management for emergency situations, performing numerous clinical procedures, and providing counseling and instruction regarding common patient problems. Each supervising physician designates in writing how the physician assistant will provide assistance

Patients have the right to be seen by the physician instead of the PA. If this is your wish, please inform the office personnel

Please direct any questions, comments, or concerns about physician assistants to the doctor

Reviewed by Pennsylvania Medical Board Legal Counsel and Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants Legal Counsel
View this in a printable format

HOW THE PROFESSION BEGAN
In the mid 1960’s, physicians and educators recognized there was a shortage and uneven distribution of primary care physicians. To expand the delivery of quality medical care, Dr. Eugene Stead of the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina put together the first class of PAs in 1965. He selected Navy corpsmen who received considerable medical training during their military service and during the war in Vietnam but who had no comparable civilian employment. He based the curriculum of the PA program part on his knowledge of the fast track training of doctors during World War II

Physician Assistant History Center