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PAs Compare: Do…
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PAs Compare: Do You Know What Your Value Is in Today’s Market?

November 9, 2020

With 2019’s projected 10-year growth for physician assistants currently at 31%, a number growing faster than all other occupations, it’s quite evident that there is a high demand for PAs. And for good reason. Physician assistants add a lot of value when it comes to both financial and clinical aspects of a medical practice. Originally created in the 1960s to expand and improve health care, PAs helped bridge the gap in places with a shortage of primary care providers, especially in rural areas. This profession was supported by the medical community, and PAs were allowed to practice without a physician present.

Over the last 50 years, the role of physician assistants has undergone change, and unfortunately PAs are often practicing in roles more similar to medical assistants than as autonomous medical experts. They are often overworked and undervalued, yet some practices, such as Direct Orthopedic Care (with locations in Texas and Oklahoma), are recognizing the full value a PA brings to the table  striving to shift back to the original intent of the profession.


How DOC Recognizes the Value of a Physician Assistant

“Were kind of breaking the mold a little bit, going back to how PAs are intended to be utilized and we’re trying to provide the training to make the solid autonomous orthopedic PAs that we need as an organization,” says Paul Lutter, DMSc, PA-C Director of the PA Residency Program at Direct Orthopedic Care (DOC).

At DOC, physician assistants are able to run their own clinics, building their own practices, and experiencing financial benefit as a result. PAs at DOC know where every single dollar that comes into the practice goes, so they can fully understand their value when it comes to company profits. Everyone appreciates financial transparency, and it contributes to PAs feeling valued and appreciated.

Earning a percentage of their clinic’s profit, DOC physician assistants are typically in the 95th percentile of earners in the profession, some even in the top .5% of all PAs in the country. An annual $200K salary is not unheard of nor uncommon. In many other clinical settings, there isn’t much room for financial growth after the initial salary unless the supervising physician / surgeon provides a bonus for exceptionally good financials. Most PAs will top out around $120,000 per year without much room for increases.


How PAs Increase Their Value at DOC

Along with that salary comes responsibility, of course. This is where the physician assistant really demonstrates their value and has the opportunity to enhance revenue, thus their paycheck, for the practice. With the ability to practice independently under required physician supervision, there is room for exponential growth through DOCs extensive residency training program for PAs. Within their residency program the residents will be instructed on core orthopedic competencies and skills in addition to  how to perform diagnostic ultrasounds, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, bone marrow aspirates for stem cell harvesting and injection, and a multitude of other in-office procedures. This experience and knowledge drastically increase your value as a PA, and it allows you to provide better care to your patients.

“I try and tell most PAs to ask one specific question when they are interviewing for a new position, and that’s, ‘Am I the first PA, or have you utilized PAs before?’  Many MD’s don’t know how to utilize us and they are unsure of what we’re able to do legally and how we can actually expand their practice.  And unfortunately, sometimes that means people are overpaid scribes and medical assistants, which is completely not what we’re trained to do,” says Lutter. “The typical application of PA practice is a very dependent provider role.”

While many medical practices do not have experience working with PAs, DOC physicians are very experienced in utilizing PAs to their full potential and understand their value as an essential asset in health care. Whether you are fresh out of school and eager to begin a new career as a PA or have years of experience, it is essential to work for a practice where you will be properly utilized. As a well-educated physician partner in medical care, you deserve to be able to put your knowledge to use and exercise independent thinking, instead of simply taking orders.

Unfortunately, this often ends up the case in many clinics that don’t understand the full value of a PA and oftentimes have them following a doctor around as they give orders, focusing on tasks that are below their qualifications. However, at DOC, you have the freedom to practice orthopedics the way you think it should be as opposed to how you’re told it’s done to truly improve the practice of medicine.


Seeking rewarding employment as a physician assistant where you’re utilized to your fullest potential?

Direct Orthopedic Care is a growing ortho practice seeking knowledgeable, skilled, passionate physician assistants who desire a career where they can personally, professionally, and financially flourish. Ideal candidates understand the value they bring to the table, are willing to work hard, train in new areas to expand their knowledge and skill set, and independently build and run their own practice. Does creating your own schedule, outstanding compensation potential, continuing professional development, and no on-calls or rounding sound great to you? Apply today at DOC Careers.  Or, if you need more information, please contact Jackie Mossakowski (DOC Recruiter) at 214.983.0403.


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