Feb 10, 2015

It’s no secret that with all the changes in health care, it’s becoming more challenging to schedule patients into the clinic for an evaluation in an appropriate time frame.

One approach to speed the process of scheduling a consultation and initiating treatment is to utilize physician’s assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs), trained in the evaluation and treatment of spine problems. This has worked well in other countries, as well as in large medical care institutions in the United States, where PAs and NPs can practice independently or with surgeons in the same office.

Partnering with PAs and NPs can improve the quality of care because it allows us to see patients in a timely fashion (usually within a week) and get any treatments started and tests ordered as needed. When a PA or NP sees a patient, the surgeons in our office are ready and available to answer questions or concerns about a patient’s diagnosis or imaging results, such as an MRI. If a surgery consultation is indicated, it can be internally expedited.

In comparison, waiting to see a surgeon for an initial evaluation can take several weeks, and typically ends with the same result – a treatment course that does not include surgery. In fact, we find that 80 to 90 percent of patients with spinal problems and symptoms DO NOT require surgery. That’s why our staff is ready to treat a patient’s spine problem whether surgery is necessary or not.

And at the end of the day, it makes no sense to wait three to six weeks to see a surgeon for a consultation, only to get a non-surgical treatment started.

Even when their initial appointment is with a PA or NP, patients visiting our practice can be confident that they will be seen by a highly specialized professional who is trained in spine care and works under the supervision of board-certified spine surgeon. Please click here to view the credentials of the skilled PAs who work in our office.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.