323 Physician Assistant Scope of Practice 2015
ertheless, PAs are embracing clinical leadership within both PCMHs and
ACOs. 347 For example, a chief PA with Southern California’s Optum-Health collaborates with a medical director to teach clinicians about the various plans and programs that ACO participants may use. 348 This PA also facilitates the administration and oversight of OptumHealth’s “Welcome to
Medicare” program. 349 This specific ACO program has resulted in enhanced
patient care due to increased access to data and care integration. 350
PAs have proven their capacity to skillfully tailor medical exams to the
advantage of the individual patient. 351 Since patient information prepopu-lates the electronic medical record, yearly wellness visits are exceptionally
organized and PAs can devote time and attention to quality benchmarks
such as blood pressure control, Body Mass Index, and colonoscopies. 352
Within the ACO’s integrated structure, PAs have the means and resources
to decipher and analyze a patient’s billing data and medical records, which
incorporate details from other provider visits and any diagnostic studies or
x-rays that have been conducted. 353 When compared to the care provided to
a traditional fee-for-service Medicare patient, the PA skill set affords an opportunity for enhanced patient follow up and continued care coordination. 354
Steward Health Care, a forward-looking ACO in New England and the
second largest healthcare system in that region, utilizes PAs at every level
of its organization. 355 A PA at this location is a director of performance and
bridges the knowledge disparities between policy makers and healthcare
providers within Steward’s healthcare network. 356 As an innovative ACO,
“Steward is responsible for a large at-risk population.” 357 The network is
held accountable for quality metrics and remunerated accordingly through
contracts with Blue Cross Blue Shield. 358 ACOs calculate success on outcomes, and Steward is deeply engrossed in coordinating care for patients
347. See Beth Grivett, Embracing Clinical Leadership in an Accountable Care Organization, PA BLOG (Nov. 20, 2013), available at http://www.pasconnect.org/embracing-clincial-leadership-in-an-accountable-care-organization/.
351. Id. Patients have responded well when PAs are involved in their preventative care.
As a result, the patients’ annual check-ups are managed better because electronic records are
already available to the PA and all they need to focus on is quality care measures.
355. Heather Trafton, Business-Minded PA Ideally Suited for ACO, PA BLOG (Nov. 20,
2013), available at http://www.pasconnect.org/business-minded-pa-ideally-suited-for-aco/.