Also known as the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare is the latest US law to reform the American health care system. Through it, President Barack Obama aims at providing citizens with affordable health insurance while enhancing the quality of health care and reducing the industry’s expenses. With so many changes underway, students and future physician assistants are wondering what the coming years have in store for them.
If you’re planning on becoming a physician assistant in the future, here are some of the main changes the new health care reform expected.
The Demand for Physician Assistants will Grow
ObamaCare will create a major gap between health care providers and patients. Doctors won’t be able to do much even if more medical schools opened up because they need to spend more time on residencies. Besides, since residencies are funded by Medicare, one of the financially troubled programs ObamaCare targets, increasing the number of doctors won’t be feasible any time soon.
This is why physician assistants will be tapped to fill the void. PAs simply graduate from school and start working without joining a residencies program. Besides, their education is less expensive. As a result, more PA programs are being established and funded thanks to ObamaCare.
PAs will Be Needed More Often in Primary Care and Pediatrics
Physician assistants will be trained as generalists before they can specialize after schools. This will make them more capable of working with primary and pediatrics, two branches of health care that are expected to grow after ObamaCare.
However, if you’re planning to work in a specialty like surgery, your career may not be as profitable. The best salaries will be given to those whose skills satisfy the public’s demands for primary care. You’ll have to wait a long time to see primary care and specialist pay grow equal if at all. Besides, with more PAs in primary and preventative care, patients will be less dependent on specialists and their assistants.
More PAs will Be Directed towards Mental Health
Prior to ObamaCare, mental health care was hardly covered by insurance companies. However, the new reform includes parity laws which make mental health conditions as important as traditionally “medical” health conditions. This will force insurance companies to stress more on the care provided for mental ailments, driving more PAs towards psychiatry. So if this branch of medicine interests you, you’ll definitely enjoy a thriving career in something you like.
Emergency Medicine PAs may Have Less Work on their Hands
With ObamaCare more fixated on primary and preventative care, patients with chronic conditions won’t have to go the ER often. This means that emergency medicine PAs will be less in demand. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t aspire to be one. The new law has eliminated some penalties linked to going to out-of-network emergency rooms and made ER access easier. Therefore, you will still get to see patients, though not as much.
Physician Assistants’ Role in Health Care Institutions will Expand
Based on the Affordable Care Act, PAs will have an expanded role. All professionals will be required to be hands-on at all times. Hospitals and private practices will be utilizing them to the full extent of their licenses to cut down costs. For instance, PAs will be given a role in transition care, which is provided after the patients leave the hospital, to ensure that patients don’t come back or request treatment that Medicare doesn’t fund.
If you’re currently contemplating a career as a PA, you can see how open this industry is for you. So, don’t wait any longer to ensure yourself a secure, profitable career within just two-three years.