Dear Physicians for Patient Protection
Posted on 18th Apr 2022 18:42:19 in Media Release
April 17, 2022
Dear Physicians for Patient Protection,
PAs for Tomorrow (PAFT) would like to respond to the article, “A Study in Mississippi Concludes
that Non-Physician Care Costs More” (6 Apr 22), written and published online (Link to article) by
Physicians for Patient Protection regarding PAs and NPs contributing to higher patient care costs.
In the report, a multispecialty clinic in Mississippi has calculated that hiring more PAs and NPs
to fill the void of a deficiency of primary care posifions has cost patients 28 million dollars
annually due to ordering excessive and unnecessary imaging, laboratory, and specialty
PAFT would like to rebut this article. First, this article does not offer any data on comparing
physician-ordered labs over the past I\ve years. Additionally, it does not compare the cost of the
studies in today's dollars nor does it account for the staggering rise in costs of these tests
annually. Lastly, but most importantly, this study contains significant bias and was published by
an organization that seeks to benefit from its content. In December of 2018, the CMS announced
(Link to announcement) a 20% increase in lab costs.
PAFT understands the intended purpose of the article was to point out that PAs and NPs order more
unnecessary tests, imaging studies, and special consults than physicians. However, the article
fails to mention that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an almost universal increase in
health care spending to include labs, imaging, and other ancillary ordering. To place the blame for
increased spending at the feet of PAs and NPs is not only inaccurate it is scapegoating.
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) published an article, “AAMC Report Reinforces
Mounting Phvsician Shortage” (11 Jun 21), reporting a prospected physician shortage of 124,000
physicians in the next twelve years. So far the physician-led community has had no remedy to fill
this significantly growing gap. Physician Associates have been vital in helping to fill this health
care shortage. The PA profession took a stand during this pandemic, next to physicians, under a
Hippocratic oath to provide safe and reliable care in the face of crisis, and together these teams
saved lives. Increasing ancillary costs should not be placed at the feet of the PA profession
Although PAs are earning increased independence, the majority of PAs fell under archaic laws, were
on teams led by physicians, and faced a pandemic at the time this data was obtained. This cost is
the burden of the health system, not the PA. This arficle not only fails to provide reliable data,
it is also a smear tactic against a selfless profession who stood and continues to stand next to
physicians every day with a commitment to save lives.
Finally, the PA profession was NOT tasked with cutting health care costs. The PA profession was
developed and has been tasked with helping bridge the growing gap of physician shortages in primary
care. The PA community has had a monumental response to their task, what is Physicians for Patient
Protection doing to help physicians meet theirs?
Adam Buzzerd, PA-C President, PAs For Tomorrow