193525 National trends of physician assistant workforce, 1980 to 2007

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Xiaoxing He, MD, MPH , Health Sciences, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH
Ellen Cyran, MS , Northern Ohio Data & Information Service, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH
Mark Salling, PhD , Northern Ohio Data & Information Service, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH
Objective: To examine national trends of physician assistant (PA) workforce among American communities.

Methods: Population data from 1980-2007 Census Public Use Microdata Sample were used to determine the demographic distribution of PA workforce and PA-to-population relationships nationwide. Maps were developed to provide an intuitive graphical display of the data. All analyses were adjusted for the complex census design and analytical weights provided by the Census Bureau.

Results: In 1980, there were about 29,120 PAs, of which, over 63.5% were males. By contrast, there was an estimated total of 97,721 PA and more than 66% were females in 2007. In 1980, Nevada had the highest rates of PAs per 100,000 persons (40), and North Dakota had the lowest rates (3.1). The corresponding rates in 2007 were 84.7 in New Hampshire, and 10.4 in Mississippi. The levels of PA education have increased - from less than 21% of PAs with four or more years of college in 1980, to more than 65% in 2007. While less than 17% of PAs were minority (Non-White) in 1980, this figure raised to 23% in 2007. Furthermore, while nearly 70% of PAs were less than 35 years old in 1980, this percentage fell to 38% in 2007.

Conclusions: A trend of increased numbers in PA workforce, especially of female PAs was identified nationwide. However, geographic variation exists among states in PA workforce per 100,000 individuals and the wages. Levels of education, percentage of minority, and age of the PA workforce have increased steadily over time.

Learning Objectives:
To describe national trends of physician assistant workforce, and to identify physician assistant model as a quick and cost-effective way to meet the aging population's primary care needs, while physicians are in shortage.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am assistant professor in health sciences, with professional experience as physician, health promotion practitioner, and health services researcher.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.