Primary Care Provider FTEs per 100,000 Vermonters - Physician Assistants
Story Behind the Curve
Physician Assistants play a critical role in providing primary care to Vermonters of all ages, often working alongside Physicians and Nurse Practitioners.
As of the 2018 survey, there were a total of 355 physician assistants (PAs) working in Vermont. That number has increased from 240 in 2012 and 155 in 2004. The number of PAs working mainly in primary care is now 111 and has increased from 105 in 2016 and 79 in 2004. These 111 PAs provide a total of 87.1 full-time equivalents (FTEs). The total FTEs in primary care has also increased from 81.5 in 2016.
Of the 111 PAs in primary care, 87 work in Family Practice Medicine and 16 work in Primary Care Internal Medicine. Nearly all PAs report accepting new patients (87%), new Medicaid patients (84%) and new Medicare patients (87%). The remaining 244 PAs work mainly in specialty care.
Recruiting physician assistants and their families to work in rural areas is a challenge unless there is an existing connection to the area. Spousal employment opportunities are also critical factors for physician assistant recruitment and retention.
Current and historic info at: https://www.healthvermont.gov/sites/default/files/documents/PDF/PA18BK.PDF
Why Is This Important?
The total number, FTEs of patient care and geographic distribution of healthcare professionals is critical data for determining health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) and priority geographic regions for recruitment and retention incentives such as educational loan repayment resources from federal and state funds.
This indicator is part of Healthy Vermonters 2020 (the State Health Assessment) that documents the health status of Vermonters at the start of the decade and the population health indicators and goals that will guide the work of public health through 2020. Click here for more information.
Recruitment and retention incentives
- UVM's Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Program Office, Burlington, VT https://www.uvm.edu/medicine/ahec/
- Champlain Valley AHEC, St. Albans, VT
- Northeastern Kingdom AHEC, St. Johnsbury, VT
- Southern Vermont AHEC, Springfield, VT
- The Vermont/New Hampshire Recruitment Center, a program of Bi-State Primary Care Association, http://www.bistatepca.org/recruitmen-center.
- Rural Recruitment and Retention Network www.3RNet.org
Physician Assistant training programs near Vermont include:
- Albany Medical College Program, Center for PA Studies, Albany, NY
- Springfield College, Physician Assistant Department, Springfield, MA
- MA College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, PA Studies Program, Manchester, NH
- MA College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, PA Studies Program, Boston, MA
- Northeastern University, Physician Assistant Program, Boston, MA
- Franklin Pearch University, Physician Assistant Program, West Lebanon, NH
- The University of New England, Physician Assistant Program, Portland, ME
- Yale Physician Assistant Program, New Haven, CT
- Quinnipiac University, Physician Assistant Program, Hamden, CT
The College of St. Joseph in Rutland, VT, will soon be offering a Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant Studies degree right here in Vermont.
Healthcare organizations are major employers in many of Vermont’s small communities, and healthcare careers can be provide good wages and salaries for many positions.
The Vermont AHEC Network offers a variety of programs to increase awareness and interest in a wide range of health care careers, including primary care physicians, among high school and college students in Vermont.These program include MedQuest and College Quest, Shadow Days in practices, Student Career Days and other efforts.
UVM's Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program office and regional AHECs manage and distribute the state-appropriated Educational Loan Repayment Program (ELRP) awards for Primary Care Providers (MDs, DOs, NPs, PAs, & Psychiatrists), Dentists, Nurses and Nurse Faculty. UVM AHEC also employs a Physician Placement Coordinator who maintains contact with medical students, fellows and physicians who have lived in Vermont, studied or practiced here, to let them know about open physicians back in Vermont. https://www.uvm.edu/medicine/ahec/.
The Vermont/New Hampshire Recruitment Center, a program of Bi-State Primary Care Association, works with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and others to recruit physicians to work in under-served areas of Vermont. http://www.bistatepca.org/recruitmen-center.
Continue to work with partners identified here as well as hospitals, FQHCs and others to coordinate recruitment and retention efforts and incentives for primary care professionals.VDH manages the loan repayment programs through AHEC, VSAC and National Health Service Corps (NHSC).
We will continue to collect data from key healthcare professions every two years, pursue federal Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) designations for eligible geographic regions, and target our limited state and federal resources to geographic areas and specialties with greatest needs.
Similar to statewide efforts, local partners are using data to drive local strategy. For regional data on access to health indicators, check out our Public Health Data Explorer.
Notes on Methodology
Data analysts from the Vermont Department of Health work with the Secretary of State’s Office of Professional Regulation and other licensing boards to collect information about patient care hours, practice locations and other data through an online census of ~99% of all licensed healthcare providers in 40+ professions every two years in most cases.
This data is analyzed and reported by county, FTE, demographics, population ratios, practice type, and trends over time for key professions such as physicians, physician assistants, dentists, nurse practitioners, and others.Shorter data briefs will be developed for select healthcare professions in the future.
Data is updated as it becomes available and timing may vary by data source. For more information about this indicator, click here.