Interview Alert: AAPA President Lawrence Herman: When it Comes to Bridging Gaps in Care, It's Not All About Nurse Practitioners. America Needs PAs.

Aug 20, 2013, 12:20 ET from American Academy of Physician Assistants

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- October signals the beginning of Open Enrollment, when 20+ million new patients will be entering the healthcare system throughout the United States under the Affordable Care Act. In recent months, Nurse Practitioners (NPs) garnered much attention as a viable solution to the looming healthcare provider shortage.

However, the reality is that America's 94,000+ Physician Assistants (PAs) are already playing a critical role in providing—and increasing—access to high-quality, patient-centered healthcare. By design, physicians and PAs work together as a team with other medical professionals, positioning PAs as an ideal solution to coordinate and deliver care in a team-based model.

WHO: Lawrence Herman, MPA, PA-C, DFAAPA, president of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. Mr. Herman is available to discuss how PAs offer unique skills and background to meet healthcare needs during the looming provider shortage.

WHY: PAs will increase access to high-quality healthcare—and in many rural or underserved areas, they are already the main primary care provider. Approximately 30 percent of PAs work in primary care. And PAs can perform 85 percent of duties similar to physicians including physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering/interpreting lab tests, performing procedures, providing counseling/education and prescribing medications. The PA profession is booming: more than 7,000 new PAs graduate annually.

ABOUT PAs: PAs practice medicine. The PA educational program is modeled on the medical school curriculum, a combination of classroom and clinical instruction including more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations above and beyond the classroom education. PAs are educated similarly to physicians and share diagnostic and therapeutic reasoning. They hold masters degrees and are nationally certified and licensed to practice medicine through Boards of Medicine. All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow PAs to practice and prescribe medications. PAs also must be recertified every six years and obtain 100 CME every two years. And PAs can specialize in a wide variety of areas, from emergency medicine, to primary care, surgery, oncology, psychiatry, radiology, pediatrics and more. 

WHEN: Interviews are available by request. Please contact Matt Forke at 202-248-5484 (office), 202-341-8973 (cell) or

About the American Academy of Physician Assistants
Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for physician assistants. It represents a profession of more than 94,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and within the uniformed services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of physician assistants and to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare. Visit to learn more.

SOURCE American Academy of Physician Assistants