FAQs About Additional Providers

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Orthopaedic Associates utilizes physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) who practice as part of the medical team in all areas of orthopaedics. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners can treat patients and write prescriptions when their supervising doctors are away. This helps to maintain continuity of care when doctors are unavailable. They are trained to recognize when patients need the attention of a supervising doctor or another specialist.

How do doctors and additional providers work together?

The relationship between a physician assistant or nurse practitioner and his or her supervising doctor is characterized by mutual trust and respect; they function as a team in providing quality medical services. The additional provider is a representative of the doctor and treats patients in the style and manner developed and directed by the supervising doctor.

Physician assistants and nurse practitioners are colleagues of doctors. They work together to ensure access to quality healthcare in a cost-effective and timely manner. Their training includes anatomy, pharmacology, pathophysiology, clinical medicine, and physical diagnosis and treatment. This training is followed by clinical rotations. A physician assistant is a graduate of an accredited PA program and is authorized by the state or credentialed by the federal government to practice medicine as delegated by and with the supervision of a doctor. A nurse practitioner is a licensed registered nurse with extensive training and a graduate degree in advanced practice nursing. Both physician assistants and nurse practitioners are highly qualified practitioners who are capable of functioning with autonomy as authorized by his or her supervising doctor.

What is an additional provider’s scope of practice?

Doctors may delegate to PAs and NPs those medical duties that are within their scope of practice, training, and experience, which are permitted by state law.

Physician assistants and nurse practitioners provide a comprehensive range of medical and surgical services, which have traditionally been performed by doctors. PAs and NPs are trained to conduct physical examinations, diagnose illnesses, order and interpret X-rays and laboratory studies, write prescriptions, develop treatment plans, and instruct and counsel patients. They also treat injuries by suturing, splinting, and casting. Additionally, PAs and NPs may assist in surgery. These providers may see patients independently and/or directly with a doctor.

When might I see a PA or NP at Orthopaedic Associates?

At the time of:

  • Initial Visit
  • Follow-Up Care
  • Preoperative Visit
  • Emergency Room Visit
  • Cast Room Visit
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery, in the Operating Room

You may see the doctor and his or her PA or NP at the same visit. However, if you do not see the doctor, please know that the physician assistant or nurse practitioner discusses and reviews your case with his or her supervising doctor.

Will my insurance pay for me to see a PA or NP?

It is customary for insurance to cover services rendered by physician assistants and nurse practitioners.


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