Despite overwhelming evidence that Physician Assistants Improve Care and Save Money, Many Provinces are still not using PAs.
OTTAWA, Oct. 27, 2017 /CNW/ - Canada's healthcare system would improve if Physician Assistants (PAs) were being utilized to provide better, more affordable quality care. "If PAs were being used more broadly, the health system would improve access to care, reduce wait times and save millions of dollars," says a report from the Conference Board of Canada, part of a series of briefings that aim to provide an understanding of the role and financial impact of PAs on Canada's health care system. The final installment of the research series was released on the eve of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistant's (CAPA) annual conference in Ottawa and provides concrete recommendations for how to integrate PAs more effectively across the country.
Key recommendations in the report include:
PAs improve patient care by providing affordable, high quality evidence based care
Evidence shows substantial savings when PAs work closely with physicians
Funding models need to be updated to reflect how PAs work with physicians
Regulating PAs in the provinces where they practice is necessary
Canada needs to introduce more PAs in every jurisdiction and increase training programs
Canada is quickly falling behind other jurisdictions who have come to rely on these highly trained health professionals to provide an enhanced level of care for patients in their respective health system. "When I speak to leaders of other international PA Associations they're shocked when I tell them how few there are in Canada," said Chris Rhule, President of CAPA. "Jurisdictions like the Netherlands, the UK, and the US have developed funding models and introduced regulation for PAs. They are utilizing them to a greater extent than we are and are already seeing the positive impact on access to care." At a time when provinces are wrestling to keep wait times down and contain costs we need to do things differently. We need to expand the role of PAs in Canada.
PAs are currently practicing in Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Alberta in hospitals, emergency rooms, primary care, mental health, long-term care, orthopedics and elsewhere. In these jurisdictions, PAs are helping to provide better, faster and affordable care to patients in every environment they practice in. In all cases, studies have demonstrated that patients and providers are seeing the benefits that PAs bring to the health system. Despite the successes in these provinces, PAs do not yet practice in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Prince Edwards Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan or the Northwest Territories.
"Evidence from jurisdictions around the world suggests that better use of PAs can save the health care systems money from efficiency gains," said Louis Thériault, Vice-President Public Policy from The Conference Board of Canada. "Developing funding models for PAs across the country can help Canada better prepare for the forthcoming challenges we are facing in our health system."