To the editor of THE EAGLE:
I was pleased to see some promotion of the new Lenox Family Health Center, a good first step to establishing improved access to care for many patients in Berkshire County. What a shame to have missed an opportunity to educate the community about the vital presence of physician assistants as well as nurse practitioners in our community.
Along with NPs, PAs as a group have had a dramatic and measurable effect on improving both access and quality of care to patients nationwide. Like our nurse practitioner colleagues, we work in every specialty from dermatology to cardiac surgery, emergency medicine to occupational health.
I would like to correct Tom Romeo’s reference to our profession as "assistants." The name of the profession is physician assistant, indicating that we extend the care that just one physician could provide.
Our medical education is rigorous and we take national board exams every six years, as well as having the same continuing education requirements that physicians require. PAs train alongside physicians and other health care providers and by both nature and training our practice is collaborative.
Faced with the shortage of primary care providers, PAs, NPs, midwives and nurse anesthetists demonstrate every day the value of team-based models of care. PAs and NPs have served this community for many years, patients count on us and I would encourage more inclusion in discussions going forward as we craft solutions to the challenges we all face. More information can be found at the American Academy of Physician Assistants website, www.aapa.org