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Medical Muse: August 2018 Issue

Medical Muse


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Hospital-Employed PAs Getting Extra Perks in 2018


Life is looking greener for PAs these days, at least for those working in hospitals. As PAs gain more autonomy and access to patients, hospitals are bumping up salaries and more.


An annual report by the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) found that hospital-employed PAs are receiving higher salaries, better leadership opportunities and more generous benefits than their counterparts working at physician practices. The median difference in salaries between PAs working in a hospital and those at physician practices was $6,000 a year.


At present, the majority of PAs are physician practice-employed. But if these trends continue, that may not be the case much longer.


How many alcoholic drinks is too many?


According to these researchers, just one: A new study conducted by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) found that the even the occasional drink can be harmful to consumers.


Based on data collected from 195 countries between the years 1990 to 2016, the authors confirm, “Our results show that the safest level of drinking is none.” One of their findings showed that over a quarter (27.1%) of cancer deaths in women over 50 and 18.9% in men were alcohol-related.


These results contend with long-held assumptions that moderate drinking can improve health, like the link between red wine consumption and heart health. Now these researchers believe that governments should encourage abstinence among their citizens.  


3 Ways Physical Therapists are Helping APPs in the ED


More EM APPs will start working alongside physical therapists in the emergency department. A new study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine highlighted various benefits of having more ED physical therapists. Here are three ways therapists can help APPs provide optimal patient care.


1. They improve patient flow. High patient census rates are one of the leading causes of burnout, especially among EM providers. This is a problem PTs can alleviate. As the study showed, ED therapists improve patient flow by decreasing wait times and reducing admission rates for patients with orthopedic symptoms. Researchers also noted that the presence of PTs boosted both patient and provider satisfaction.


2. They decrease opioid usage. Emergency department patients often suffer from acute pain, which may be treated with opioid prescriptions. However, the CDC recommends that their use should not exceed three consecutive days for most patients. With more PTs on staff though, emergency departments may opt for therapy as the first line of defense against pain instead of drugs. This shift would reduce the use of opioid prescriptions to treat both acute and chronic pain.


3. They reduce subsequent ED visits. Physical therapists are experts on patient mobility and safety. They know the limitations of a recovering body and how to educate patients on those limitations. These measures not only provide optimal treatment but can also reduce subsequent ED visits. For example, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that when elderly patients visiting the ED for a fall received PT services, their chances of returning to the ED for another fall lowered significantly.


What do you think: Should more therapists go into emergency medicine? If you’re an EM APP who has worked with an allied health professional, I would love to hear about your experiences! Email me at [email protected] to share your insights.