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Surgeon on the street

Do you use physician extenders? If so, how do they help you?

On July 9–12, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine held its annual meeting in Keystone, Colo. One of the most popular sessions explored the roles that physician assistants and athletic trainers play in treating patients with sports-related orthopaedic conditions. AAOS Now asked attendees about how they work with physician extenders. Here’s what they said:

“My practice uses certified physician assistants (PA-Cs). We find them to be most useful in evaluating new patients and referring them to the surgeons, as necessary. Our PA-Cs also order radiographs. If there’s any question regarding the proper type of imaging evaluation that’s needed, they contact one of the surgeons in our group. Depending on the surgeon’s preference, our PA-Cs may perform joint injections.
Ross S. Paskoff, MD
; Bloomington, Minn.

“At the Hospital for Special Surgery, we have orthopaedic residents, fellows, and physician assistants (PAs). If a resident or fellow isn’t available to assist in surgery, the surgeons work with a PA. We’re thinking of hiring a non-operative PA at my practice. We see patients with a nurse who is also an athletic trainer—he’s very helpful because he can do things such as show patients exercises to do at home.
Sabrina M. Stickland, MD;
New York, N.Y.

“At my group practice, we work with about 10 PAs; we also work with a large number of athletic trainers, both in our clinics and in hospitals and colleges. They’re very beneficial in providing direct clinical care and education to the athletic population. They also help us administratively in the college and hospital. I do all of my joint injections myself, but some of my partners have their PAs do them.”
Richard Y. Hinton, MD;
Baltimore, Md.

“Our PA works with us in surgery; she also sees patients with sports injuries and refers those who need surgery to one of our orthopaedists. So, in that sense, her role is similar to a primary care sports medicine physician. She doesn’t do joint injections, but then again my practice at Phoenix Children’s Hospital is with young athletes, so we don’t do a lot of joint injections.”
Jeffrey M. Vaughn, DO;
Gilbert, Ariz.

August 2009 Issue