Page 21 - Athletic Health Handbook
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concurrently adding financial value ancillary staff members should be evaluation, immediate care,
is critical. enabled so that they most effectively treatment, rehabilitation and
support the physician and the conditioning, organization and
Staffing is, and always has been, clinical needs of the patient. administration, and professional
a primary concern that must be responsibility of musculoskeletal
optimized as part of the development This article will focus on the injuries. Recently, post-degree
of a lean and efficient operational utilization of physician assistants residency programs have been
model. Ideal staffing models should (PA) and athletic trainers (AT) as created to train ATs in the specialty
be designed with the patient as the complimentary clinicians who can skill sets to work in the orthopaedic
highest priority and at the center work in tandem to support the and sports medicine practice setting
of care. Clinic flow should be as orthopaedic sports medicine physician. as physician extenders.
streamlined as possible with a staffing Both professionals work under the
model that provides the highest direction of a supervising physician, Physician assistants are
quality and efficiency. The right and have a medical-based education utilized throughout the healthcare
staffing model will allow a practice model. PAs are highly trained and environment, working in every
to increase patient volumes and yield skilled, and are recognized by the medical specialty and have been
the greatest financial reward. From Center of Medicare and Medicaid increasing in demand as providers
a business perspective, ancillary staff Services (CMS), allowing them the within orthopaedics. A recent
must work within the full scope ability to see patients independently, evaluation performed at The
of their practice and at their highest diagnose, treat, order and interpret University of Wisconsin Hospital
possible level of care. Midlevel tests, perform minor procedures, Department of Orthopedics and
providers should be working in prescribe medications, and assist Rehabilitation reviewed the
autonomous roles that allow them in surgery. The training of ATs utilization of its ancillary staff. PAs
to garner the greatest return on emphasizes musculoskeletal injury who worked in conjunction with
investment for their services. Other prevention, clinical diagnosis and their physicians had variable and
limited ability to generate revenue
independently.1 While the role of all
staff continues to evolve, physician
assistants are transitioning into more
autonomous roles that allow them to
improve access, optimize collections,
and also streamline care for surgeons.
This autonomy allows for better
patient access, and allows for surgical
conversion rates to improve as new
surgical patient slots are used more
effectively. To the greatest extent
achievable, it is important to
minimize the instances where two
billable providers are seeing the same
patient during the same visit in a
clinic setting.

Physicians and administrators
increasingly recognize the versatile
and comprehensive skill set that
athletic trainers possess and bring
to the physician clinic setting. At
the same time athletic trainers are
seeking out positions in clinic
settings. These factors have caused
the physician extender setting of

PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS AND ATHLETIC TRAINERS IN YOUR ORTHOPAEDIC PRACTICE 21
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