Taken out of context
The American Academy of Physician Assistants is concerned about the way the quotes from Ann Davis of the American Academy of Physician Assistants were taken out of context in the article “Helping hands” (May 23, p. 26).
She was not asked at all about the Medical Society of the State of New York’s resolution on “physician extenders”—the focus of the article—despite appearance to the contrary in print. Had Ann been informed of the article’s focus, she would have addressed several implications in MSSNY’s resolution.
The resolution implies that using physician assistants to examine, diagnose and treat patients is a new concept. Yet physician assistants, in a variety of clinical settings and specialties, have treated New York patients for more than 40 years. There are nearly 8,000 practicing physician assistants in the Empire State— roughly 10% of all U.S. physician assistants.
The resolution asserts that government and managed-care organizations have developed programs in which physician assistants practice independently. This is flatly untrue as physician assistants are committed to practicing as mem- bers of physician-physician assistant teams.
MSSNY’s resolution calls for the American Medical Association to “insist that there be Level 1 evidence” that patients receive the same level of care from physician assistants as physicians. Ms. Davis would have been happy to cite numerous studies focusing on physician assistants in a wide variety of clinical settings and across several specialties that demonstrate the effectiveness of physician assistants practicing in physician-physician assistant teams.
Brooke Braun Senior director of communications American Academy of Physician Assistants