In this issue’s Health Law article, What’s the Best Policy for Unlocking an Urgent Care’s Doors when a Provider Isn’t Present? (page 19), author Alan Ayers, MBA, MAcc points to the capabilities of advanced practice providers as one rationale some urgent care operators use when opting to stay open for business when a physician isn’t present. You could even go a step further and make the argument that the degree of direct care provided by APPs is one thing that distinguishes urgent care from other settings.
One study of the role physician assistants play in various practice settings revealed that urgent care PAs are entrusted with direct patient care to a greater degree than their peers in emergency medicine, primary care, retail, and student health centers. The graph below compares the proportion of PAs who perform procedures (eg, suturing, incision and drainage) in various settings.