DEAR EDITOR:

Note: Amy Reeves is a PA currently practicing in general pediatrics in Kennesaw and is also a board member and legislative chair of Georgia Association of PAs.

We all know that receiving medical care can be stressful. Whether you’re nervous about a procedure, frustrated at the wait time for an appointment or visiting a new medical practice for the first time, navigating the health care world can be understandably unnerving.

But PAs, or physician assistants, are here to help. When you need health care, our goal is to be there for you.

PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications and can serve as your primary health care provider. PAs improve health care access and quality, making it easier for you to get the care you need.

From Oct. 6-12, we (celebrated) PA Week, which recognizes our profession and its contributions to the nation’s health.

There are more than 131,000 PAs working across the country — and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is expected to grow 37% between 2016 and 2036.

Here in Georgia, there are 5,000 PAs providing high quality care.

There are more than 238 PA programs, which educate students at the master’s degree level. These programs are an average of 27 months long and require students to complete rigorous classroom coursework. Additionally, PA students complete 2,000 hours of clinical rotations in a broad spectrum of specialties, including family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, general surgery, emergency medicine, and psychiatry. Trained as medical generalists, PAs perform many of the same tasks as physicians.

PAs are well positioned to treat our nation’s most vulnerable populations, including those in rural and underserved communities. Here in Georgia, we are in the midst of an unprecedented physician shortage and a complex opioid crisis – and PAs are on the front lines. Always innovative and always flexible, PAs are the solution to some of our system’s biggest problems.

In every state, PAs, their state organizations, and the American Academy of PAs are working together with the legislature to modernize laws and regulations in an effort to remove unnecessary and antiquated barriers to care for patients.

The PA profession is committed to improving access to quality care for all patients.

Amy Reeves

Marietta

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