The Health Care Industry is Honoring Physician Assistants during National Physician Assistant Week. We took the opportunity to speak with Dona Kilgore and her husband, Justin Kilgore, about their work with Adirondack Health. Both Are Physician Assistants but each has their own specialty. Dona’s focus is on primary care at the Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake Health Centers while Justin’s is focused on emergency medicine in the Emergency Department for Adirondack Health. He’s stationed at the Emergency Department at AMC Lake Placid, and also at the ED in Saranac Lake. Today on the K&J show we’re speaking with the couple about their decisions to become PAs, their choice to live in the Adirondacks and their work with Adirondack Health.
Certified Physician Assistants are highly educated medical providers who graduate from accredited, masters-degree level PA programs, pass a rigorous national certification exam, and maintain certification through ongoing education and recertification exams. They are also licensed by state medical boards.
Certified PAs practice medicine with the supervision of a physician. They routinely obtain medical histories; examine, diagnose and treat patients; order and interpret diagnostic tests; and develop and implement treatment plans. They can perform minor surgery and assist in major surgery, instruct and counsel patients, order or carry out therapy and prescribe medications.
According to self-reported data collected by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), each week certified PAs work 3.8 million hours enabling them to increase healthcare access by seeing 7 million patients. Over 9,500 of the nation’s approximately 92,000 certified PAs practice in New York State.
A team-based approach to delivering coordinated healthcare, the physician-PA team concept is working and growing in every state, specialty and medical setting. Certified PAs must pass rigorous standards to earn the PA-C designation after their name. This designation validates their clinical knowledge and cognitive skills because it is only granted after they have graduated from an accredited PA program and passed the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam, administered by the NCCPA. To maintain NCCPA certification and retain the right to use the PA-C designation, PAs must complete continuing medical education credits every two years and successfully pass a re-certification exam every six to 10 years. For those PAs who commit to a medical specialty, the CAQ credential is available in seven specialties: Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery, Nephrology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry. CAQs are not needed for certification or state licensure; however they are recognition of a PAs additional ability to perform specialty-focused patient care.
The demand for emergency services is declining slightly in our area, in large part due to the implementation of the Patient Centered Medical Home. The goals of the medical home demonstration project are to emphasize prevention and better manage chronic conditions, which will ultimately improve quality of care, help patients avoid visits to the emergency room and contain costs. This healthcare delivery model tightly couples patients with their primary care provider, enabling patients to get in touch with a physician 24 hours a day. If an urgent health need cannot wait until normal business hours, patients can contact a member of the Adirondack Health Medical Staff by calling the “after-hours call line” at (518) 897-2744.
To Find out more about Dona and the Community Health Centers Follow this link to the AMC Cares Website;