Most PAs do not work in primary care

More than 70 percent of physician assistants do not work in primary care, according to data from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

The NCCPA collected data from more than 93 percent of the country's PAs and found there are 103 PAs per 1,000 physicians in the U.S. overall, but this ratio increases substantially in surgical subspecialties (374 PAs per 1,000 physicians), emergency medicine (291 PAs per 1,000 physicians) and dermatology (275 PAs per 1,000 physicians).

Here is how the nation's PAs are divided.

  • Family medicine/general practice — 21 percent
  • Emergency medicine — 13.4 percent
  • Orthopedic surgery — 11.2 percent
  • Internal medicine — 5.3 percent
  • Dermatology — 4 percent
  • Hospital medicine — 3.3 percent

The report also indicates the PA profession is young — the median age is 38, while many physicians are nearing retirement. Just 0.6 percent of PAs plan to retire this year, according to the report. This indicates PAs will likely take on increasing responsibility in ensuring healthcare access in future years.  


More articles on integration and physician issues:

Only 1 in 5 physicians are engaged
Why the nation's deaf struggle with medical care
Where are the nation's newest medical schools?

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