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An analysis of the profitability of employing a physician assistant within a pediatric private practice clinic

14 August 2005


Context: On the island of Hawaii there is a shorltage of medical providers. Most of the residents of this island are insured by the Medicaid/Medical program (Quest). Currently, in the small town of Hilo, Hawaii, very few physicians are accepting new Medicaid patients. For example, as of August 1,2005, there were no pediatricians who were accepting new "Quest" patients. These children must obtain medical services from their local community health clinic. The island of Hawaii has very few P.A. 's despite it's overwhelming need. One reason may be that most physicians in Hawaii are in private practice and are uncertain if the addition of a PA would be financially beneficial or draining to their practice. This study will attempt to demonstrate an answer to this issue.

Objective: To demonstrate, by using a series of average clinic visits and the lowest reimbursement rates from insurers, if hiring a PA would generate revenue for a private practice pediatric clinic. Design: The design will be a retrospective study, analyzing previous clinic visits with current insurance reimbursement rates. Setting: This study was completed with statistics gathered from the pediatric clinic of Joseph D' Angelo, MD in Hilo, Hawaii.

Subjects: The "subjects" were clinic visits at a pediatric clinic, using CPT codes and no names or identifying information. Three months of data was reviewed and analyzed.

Results: The lowest reimbursement rates were used with a 50% reimbursement collection rate. The numbers demonstrated that even at part time employment, a physician assistant would generate additional income for this clinic as well as pay for themselves.

Conclusion: Hiring a physician assistant to a pediatric practice not only can relieve some of the increasing need for pediatric care in Hilo, Hawaii, but can also generate extra revenue for the clinic.


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