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What is a Physician Assistant (PA)?
Physician assistants (PAs) are medical providers who are licensed to diagnose and treat illness and disease and prescribe medication for patients. PAs work in physician offices, hospitals and clinics in collaboration with a licensed physician. Because of their advanced education in general medicine, modeled after physician education, PAs can treat patients with significant autonomy within the physician/PA relationship.
In the primary care setting, PAs can provide almost all of the clinical services that physicians provide, including performing physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses and prescribing medications. PAs work together with physicians as part of an integrated medical team. PAs have their own patients and, under a written agreement with a licensed physician, make clinical decisions and provide a broad range of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and health maintenance services.
The physician-PA team relationship is fundamental to the PA profession and enhances the delivery of high-quality health care.