The Kentucky Academy of Physician Assistants (KAPA) would like to comment on the editorial: “Get the Facts on Health Reform” published May 28. We would like to point out that physician assistants are also highly trained professionals, with graduate level coursework and a minimum of 2,000 hours of physician-led direct clinical training. We are qualified to care for patients both in primary care and in most specialties. As our name suggests, we work with a supervising physician in a physician led team.
Nurse practitioners, and the writer of this editorial, advocate the elimination of any collaborative agreement with physicians, freeing NPs to work with complete independence. There is a suggestion that the Kentucky Medical Association’s motivations for keeping such an agreement in place are greed for a “cut of the income” or “protecting turf.”
While we naturally agree that mid-levels are a key component of meeting the influx of patients to the health care system we disagree that the answer is to work without physicians.
Physicians devote a minimum of seven years to training for their medical specialty following a four-year college degree. To disregard the difference that this can make in one’s knowledge base is short-sighted. Both KAPA and the American Academy of Physician Assistants advocate expanding the role of the mid-level provider, but within a physician-led team.
The KMA, which represents the state’s doctors, recognizes the great need for care providers in the near future and has made great strides in the last couple of years to work with midlevel groups.
I agree with the writer of this editorial that the state’s medical professional groups would be wise to “work together to expand primary care” and to recruit more providers into the system. We at KAPA believe that this should be done within the model of the physician-led team and will work with KMA, legislators, and NPs across the state to promote access to healthcare for all our residents.
President, Kentucky Academy of Physician Assistants
Lexington Ky. 40513
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