In the eyes of many, physician assistants and nurse practitioners (known collectively as advanced practice providers, or APPs) have become indispensable members of the urgent care clinical team. Given that they work under a lower pay scale than physicians, it’s possible for an urgent care operator to hire more APPs than physicians, thereby increasing the productivity of the practice without a corresponding jump in payroll—and reserving more of the physician’s time for the highest-acuity patients. It should be significant to urgent care management, then, that the AAPA House of Delegates just passed a resolution “affirming ‘physician associate’ as the official title for the PA profession.” The association made the move after years of study by a marketing and communications firm. It’s premature to refer to PAs on your staff by the new designation, as legislative and regulatory bodies have yet to bless it. (Similarly, JUCM will continue to use the term “physician assistant” until the new term is implemented industry-wide.)
Urgent Care ‘Physician Assistants’ Today, ‘Physician Associates’ Tomorrow?