Embracing the Care Team Concept
Physician – PA partnerships lead national health care trend
Patients across the country are beginning to see a new trend in health care that gets them seen sooner – and out the door faster: physician assistant-led appointments.
According to the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the physician assistant profession is growing steadily. It has increased 35.9% over the past five years - reaching 108,717 certified PAs nationwide by the end of 2015.
Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners are both considered advanced practice providers – qualified health care professionals who provide care and treatment while working under the close supervision of a doctor.
OSF Saint Anthony’s Physician Group in Alton, IL is embracing the trend. Elaine Rynders is a Physician Assistant-Certified (PA-C) there, meaning she has received advanced medical training allowing her to examine, diagnose, and treat patients as part of a care team.
The care team works together closely to anticipate the needs of primary care patients, communicate their findings with each other, and make sure no aspect of the patient’s health slips through the cracks.
There is greater consistency for patient care. The patient will always be talking to someone that they know rather than the doctor on call that day.
“Care team gives patient an ability to have a group of people that knows their history and problems that they can feel comfortable with,” said Rynders. “If the doctor is on vacation or just gone for the day, the Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner and the office staff can step in and answer questions and take care of any problem that might come up. There is greater consistency for patient care. The patient will always be talking to someone that they know rather than the doctor on call that day.”
Rynders continued, “The PA and Nurse Practitioner professions are growing because people have the opportunity to pursue a medical career and make a great difference in the lives of patients, yet still have a quality of life with family that is often hard to achieve as a doctor.”
Primary care physician Dr. Mohyuddin hopes patients can see the value and benefit of the team approach.
“The care team model offers patients to be seen in a more timely fashion to have their health care needs addressed. The PA works in close coordination with the physician to see the patient, especially for acutely ill patients. Most of the time, my schedule is booked for a few months ahead. There are not enough physicians to go around, so PAs and NPs help fill that void,” said Dr. Mohyuddin.
Vicki Archer of Moro has been seeing Rynders for primary care for more than 20 years.
“A Physician Assistant always takes the time to listen to you,” said Archer. “I was really sick when I first met Elaine. No one thought to help me like she did. She really took the time to fix me. She cares, and she remembers; I don’t have to go back through my history, and I’m allergic to everything under the sun. She actually did homework on me on her own time to make sure I was okay with the medication I received.”
Patients can make appointments with Elaine Rynders, PA-C by calling OSF Saint Anthony’s Physician Group at (618) 462-2222.