Physician Practice

The changing role of NPs and PAs

Physician Practice Insider, February 23, 2016

More practices are using nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) in new ways and the roles they fill vary widely as states continue to redefine their scope of practice. The roles of NPs and PAs are becoming more important as new models of care emerge, most notably patient-center medical homes and accountable care organizations that put an emphasis on preventive care.

The American College of Physicians (ACP) takes what it calls a “holistic view” of the role of NPs and PAs in a physician practice, one that can vary based on the needs of the patient population and the members of the team.

“Part of our goal is to move the discussion away from a ‘who’s in charge’ mentality and from people operating in their own little silos,” said Bob Doherty, senior vice president of governmental affairs and public policy for the ACP in Philadelphia “We like to emphasize the importance of a work environment where everyone works to their full capabilities in a way that best meets the needs of each patient.”

The American Medical Association took the same approach to team-based care in a prepared statement. “The American Medical Association encourages physician-led healthcare teams that utilize the unique knowledge and valuable contributions of nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other healthcare clinicians to enhance patient outcomes.”

This article was originally published in Physician Practice Perspectives. Subscribers can read the full article in the April 2016 issue.

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