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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Doctor Shortage: Is It OK to go With a Physician Assistant?

With millions of newly insured patients entering the healthcare system as a result of Obamacare, the demand for family practice doctors has increased astronomically.

There aren’t nearly enough general practitioner MDs to go around. By 2025, there will be a national shortage of up to 31,100 family physicians and internists, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

To handle the patient overflow, MDs increasingly rely on physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs). At many clinics, patients rarely see their primary-care physician, and many of them aren’t happy about it.

About 72 percent of patients would rather see an MD than a PA, according to a recent national survey.

But should you be worried about seeing an MD instead of a PA or NP?

Not necessarily, experts say. But it depends on why you’re seeing a healthcare professional.

Most PAs or NPs are perfectly able to treat minor conditions. But more serious disorders require the attention of an MD.

“The vast majority of medicine is routine,” says Tom Ahern, a certified PA with nearly 40 years of experience. “I would say that 99 percent of the time it’s OK to see the PA.”

Although both PAs and NPs can diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications, and order/interpret tests, there are some differences.



Anonymous said...

I have had bad experiences with PA and CNP. In both cases the disgnosis was dead wrong. I on the other hand have listened to my daughter, an RN, and can see that her diagnostic skills are very good.

Are RN's better than PA's and CNP's. Nope just generally more experienced than the ones I have dealt with.

So it is what you know, what you experienced and what you learned all together. I suggest that a PA or CNP be better trained than they seem to be. Or at least the ones from my experience.

Anonymous said...

I see a CNP and I have a rare disorder. She is the best medical provider, better than the doctors, that I have ever had. She is always very knowledgeable and on top of things! Everybody has someone to complain about, find that perfect provider for's like buying the car you like.

Anonymous said...

You are lucky to see a M.D. these days. Most often you sit in their waiting room for hours sometimes, go to an exam room and wait some more, then if you're lucky to be seen by a doctor they talk 90 mph and are gone in less than 7 minutes.

N.P.'s and the like may be ok for some things but my experience has been they have attitude problems. They think they ARE doctors. But then you have some EMT's act that way too.

It is a little better across the bay, which is why a lot of people make that trip. The care AND bedside manner is usually far better than our backwoods shore.

Some people are in that field who have no business being in it. They can issue you a license but they can't issue you a good temperament.

Unknown said...

Ummm, you forgot to mention D.O.s. M.D.s are not the only physicians who practice medicine.

Anonymous said...

Pay the same amount of money to see a less qualified caregiver.. It's not fair and I'm forced to cancel my insurance if clinton wins. I can't afford it. I canceled cable, full coverage auto, I don't eat out, I don't smoke or drink and I work two jobs. Still not enough money. I have never been this poor and cannot plan a family. My car has 200k on it and I do all my own work on it. Sad times. Vote Trump 2016

Anonymous said...

Most doctors are nothing more than pushers for the pharmaceutical companies. Most Americans are unhealthy because they are fat, sedentary and have terrible diets. Fix those 3 things and most of your problems will be gone.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Susan Rall said...
Ummm, you forgot to mention D.O.s. M.D.s are not the only physicians who practice medicine.
October 4, 2016 at 3:13 PM

Sorry, I'm not familiar what a D.O. is, but I do know what a D.O.O. is. Regardless, I was just being general, I wasn't going to list every abbreviated profession.

Anonymous said...

How do you know your getting the best treatment?

Unknown said...

There are two types of physicians, M.D. And D.O. Do your research before make generalizations. And D.O.s are not inferior! And yes for Trump!