Whether you need more work/life balance or want to expand your services and/or number of patients, adding an advanced practice provider (APP), such as a physician assistant (PA) or nurse practitioner (NP), can be valuable for achieving both.
APPs are licensed medical providers that practice medicine under the collaboration of doctors. APPs have collaborated with dermatologists for decades, helping with patient exams and diagnosing, along with the development and implementation of treatment plans including prescribing medications, ordering and interpreting lab tests, cosmetic care and surgical management of a wide variety of dermatologic diseases. If you are considering adding an APP, there are a few things to plan out beforehand.
Recruit a Certified APP
Adding APPs has become increasingly popular in the medical world, so depending on your location, you may find many great candidates. There are many helpful job boards online for posting your job description, including the PA JobSource, accessed through the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA). There, and on other similar sites, you can post jobs and review resumes of certified candidates. For physician assistants, that includes those that are nationally certified and designated as a PA-C. These PAs have graduated from an accredited PA program and passed the national certifying examination administered by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). The right APP should also be state-licensed or able to obtain a license in your state.
Make Your Job Description Compelling
According to the NCCPA, 78% of recent physician assistant graduates receive multiple practice offers, with 52% choosing between three or more. With so much competition, it’s important to create a job description that’s clear, informative and enticing. Without being too lengthy, you want to accurately convey what the candidate can expect from working on your team while highlighting what value is in it for them.
Know Your State Laws and Regulations
When it comes to practicing medicine and prescribing, APP laws vary from state to state. It’s important to know what laws and regulations are present in your state, to fully help your APP succeed without obstacles. The AAPA has collected the different laws and regulations for each state here.
Set a Practice Agreement
Prior to hiring an APP, creating an agreement for set duties and responsibilities is a great opportunity to ensure you and the APP are aligned on terms of employment, compensation, provided services, malpractice coverage, benefits and other important details.
Build an Integration Plan
Prior to hiring, you should also consider building a complete integration plan beforehand to help the APP hit the ground running. You can include your specific practice standards and how your EHR (or other operational system) works. You can also incorporate other areas of importance for your practice culture and introduce the team they’ll be working with. In the plan, create a specific timeline with action items including introductions and the different stages of their development – clinical observation (they observe your patient care), collaborative care (share tasks, intake documentation and simple procedures) and independent care (give them autonomy to start seeing patients on their own).
The value an APP can bring to your practice can be truly impactful, especially with patient satisfaction. Patients today care more about the care they receive rather than credentials, as well as the ease of care. APPs can provide both – quality care in a more convenient time frame than perhaps you could on your own. But to successfully hire and integrate an APP, be sure you take the right steps and are fully prepared.
Need help bringing on a new APP? We’re always a phone call or click away to support your needs. Schedule a consultation with one of our practice management experts today!