Cardiology Physician Assistant
A Physician Assistant (PA) is a highly skilled health care professional who practices medicine in a team based setting with Physicians. The Physician-Physician Assistant relationship is a proven approach to the health care needs of the United States and internationally. In the cardiology practice setting the Physician-PA team is able to expand access and provide high quality, cost-effective care to patients with cardiovascular disease.
What is a Cardiology PA?
PAs in cardiology are highly skilled clinicians who have received didactic and clinical training to function in all areas of cardiovascular care. In collaboration with physicians, PAs are able to perform many of the functions of a cardiologist and add about $300,000 in revenue to a practice*. With increasing cardiologist shortages, the Association of American Medical Colleges advocates adding PAs to cardiology practices to help alleviate the inefficiencies caused by this deficit.
What a Cardiology PA Does
Cardiology PAs works in collaboration with physicians and other healthcare professionals in the management of patients in the inpatient and outpatient settings. They perform patient histories and physical exams; perform admissions, consults, and discharges and make daily rounds; order and interpret laboratory and diagnostic tests; prescribe medications and develop treatment plans; supervise and interpret stress tests; perform cardioversions, transesophageal echocardiograms, device implants and catheterizations; take call; and provide important patient education and lifestyle counseling.
In the office, PAs improve access to timely care. In the hospital, PAs not only free physicians to spend more time on difficult cases but also act as vital communication links between patients, families, nurses and physicians.
Becoming a Cardiology PA
PAs must complete an accredited PA program, pass a national certification exam, maintain continuing education and recertification, and obtain licensing within the state(s) they practice.
Cardiology PAs practice in every specialty in which Cardiologists practice, including non-invasive cardiology, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, heart failure, lipidology, pediatric cardiology and adult congenital cardiology. They also participate in the cardiology training of PA and medical students, serve on national committees of cardiology associations (including many ACC committees) and work in administration making cardiology practice policies.
PA services are reimbursable by most major federal programs, insurance companies and workers' compensation programs. Refer to CMS and private insurance providers for additional information.
*Data from the Association of Physician Assistants in Cardiology