What is a PA-C?
A physician assistant (PA), or certified physician assistant (PA-C) is a licensed health professional who practices medicine under the supervision of a physician. A physician assistant provides a broad range of health care services that were traditionally performed by a doctor.
Although it varies with training, in general, PAs can provide approximately 80 percent of the services typically provided by a physician:
- perform physical exams
- diagnose illnesses
- develop and carry out treatment plans
- order and interpret lab tests
- suture wounds
- assist in surgery
- provide preventive health care counseling, and
- write prescriptions (in most states)
Although the physician need not be present during the time the PA performs his or her duties, there must be a method of contact between the supervising physician and the PA at all times.