NCCPA CEO Talks about the Growth of the PA Profession

Dawn Morton-Rias of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) speaks about the rise of the PA profession in this podcast.

Even though the physician assistant (PA) profession has been around for about 50 years, it has seen tremendous growth in just the last few.

According to Dawn Morton-Rias, a certified PA as well as president and chief executive of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), there has been a 35-percent increase in the number of practicing PAs in the U.S. over the last four years. This number corresponds with data from the recently released 2016 Physicians Practice Staff Salary Survey, which identified a 10 percent year-over-year increase in medical practices that employed at least one advanced practitioner (PA and/or nurse practitioner).

Morton-Rias said the NCCPA recently came out with data of its own to profile this progress and to examine the profession at large. She spoke with PhysiciansPractice in a podcast interview on what this data says about the PA profession. "PAs continue to practice across the entire healthcare landscape in every medical discipline [and] specialty area, and every practice setting where you find physicians providing care, you find PAs providing care," she said.

Later in the podcast, Morton-Rias talked about the role PAs can play in overcoming the impending primary-care physician shortage. "We see PAs working in areas where you might not have a physician working, for example … in more remote areas, where there are not enough physicians to care for the population. We see PAs working in collaboration, but often, autonomously with physicians who are remotely located from them," she said.

Morton-Rias also talked about why some states have higher rates of PAs working in medical practice than others and what has to happen for the profession to keep growing. The full-length podcast can be accessed above.