I partnered with several physician colleagues and veteran PA colleagues alike to keep a small yet thriving primary care practice open and provide top-quality care to more than 4,000 patients. We’re also seeing new patients in excess of 3-5 a day!
We’re Bear Creek Family Medicine, Prof. LLC, and our mission statement and core value centers on a quote from an anonymous author: “A life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
Each day, we have the honor of educating our community on the quality care and healthcare access PAs provide. We routinely welcome feedback from both new and long-time patients to gauge our progress in promoting PA awareness in our community.
The response has been quite overwhelming, and what began as a seemingly insurmountable task has now become the preferred perception of the community at large!
I’ve also made a commitment to precept PA students at my practice. And I employ only PA colleagues because I’m passionate about giving back and supporting my profession.
During our transition, we’re seeing positive feedback from most third-party insurers on PA reimbursement. For instance, some private payers increased our reimbursement above 85 percent of the physician fee schedule.
We accomplished this by shedding light on the aging population of general practitioners and the shortage of those entering the fields of family practice or primary care. We’re proving how PAs are filling the gaps with access to thorough, affordable healthcare.
But more needs to be done. Our quality of service and our skills should be fully recognized at both state and national levels. And we need to advocate for change in Medicare and other federally funded healthcare programs to eliminate this ridiculous regulation that we cannot sign for, initiate or maintain home health orders.
To think that we can write prescriptions for high-quantity controlled substances, diagnose and manage multiple comorbidities, perform minor surgical procedures in the office—and that’s just to name a few—but we cannot enroll or monitor our patients for home health services, short or long term?
If our lawmakers and congressional leaders cannot set the precedent to the general public that PAs should be recognized equally for our quality of care, then what an uphill battle we are fighting.
We need them to set the bar, and cultivate and encourage the profession by eliminating barriers that clearly would otherwise allow us to step in and help absorb the heavy burden of our physician colleagues!
I encourage my fellow PA family to make 2014 a year of progress through involvement and advocacy for our profession. There are changes on the horizon, and we need to stand together and take them on!
There is adversity to overcome. But I believe that anything worth having is worth fighting for—we are fighting for our patients and those to come!
Here’s to making history for the PA profession in 2014.
Katrina Grablin, MSPAS, PA-C, is co-owner/manager at Bear Creek Family Medicine, Prof. LLC, in Colorado Springs, Colo.
See also: AAPA’s federal and state advocacy page