A physician assistant (PA) is a medical provider licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. PA-C is written after the name of those physician assistants who are also certified.
PAs are required to complete a rigorous, graduate-level medical training program (usually about 2 years long). Because they work closely with physicians and with physician
supervision, PAs are trained to evaluate and manage problems in the same way physicians are taught (generally called the "medical model"). They are also required to get ongoing education (continuing medical education) to maintain their licenses.
What is the difference between a PA and a physician? Mainly it is that physicians complete
more extensive formal training. Physicians are required to complete medical school (usually 4 years) and to complete a one-year internship (some states require more). The vast majority also complete a residency in their specialty. In family medicine, for example,
the residency (including internship) is 3 years long. Because of their training, physicians have nearly unlimited scope of practice (types of problems they can treat).
Though PAs can work in any specialty and can see patients of all ages, their scope of practice generally involves uncomplicated medical problems. State law also determines the scope of practice of physician assistants. In family medicine, some examples of what a PA might treat are (not a comprehensive list):
In general, PAs would not manage commplex medical issues, or medical issues requiring
extensive treatment or management. In family medicine, some examples of what a PA would not generally treat are:
PAs prescribe controlled susbstances (narcotics and others) on a very limited basis and, in a clinic like ours, do not ever prescribe schedule II drugs (like Vicodin, Adderall, Concerta, Oxycontin, Methadone, etc.)
To help ensure the best medical care, physician assistants must work with physician
supervision. The supervising physician must always be available for consultation and must conduct regular chart reviews. Always, PAs provide care in a way that is consistent with the direction of their supervising physicians.
What are the benefits of a PA? A PA is often able to provide more follow-up and better
availability for patients, overall improving the level of care.
Family Health PLLC
18423 FM 1488 Rd Suite C
Magnolia, TX 77354
Paul Dibble MD
Alyson Van Tiem PA-C
Traffic in Magnolia can be surprisingly heavy; plan plenty of time for travel when coming to our clinic. See Driving Directions
Alyson Van Tiem PA-C can now see Medicare patients on a private-pay basis (she is "opted-out" of Medicare)
We do not take insurance
We accept cash, check, credit/debit cards