In rural areas, physician assistants play a larger role in health care

Aug 26, 2014

The director of UNMC’s Physician Assistant program says the need for PA’s and physicians is growing in rural areas.

An upcoming conference at UNMC focuses on the role of physician assistants in meeting rural health care needs. Michael Huckabee oversees the PA program in UNMC’s School of Allied Professions. He says physician assistants are trained to handle 80 to 90 percent of what happens in a daily medical setting.

"There just aren’t enough physicians to go around. And so rural communities are looking at creative ways to develop the health care community, and the team approach to health care is really functionally working very well in rural communities now. The physician assistants by their very name are linked with physicians to extend that care."

Huckabee says the Affordable Care Act has increased demand for physician assistants in rural areas. UNMC has a physician assistant program at its satellite campus in central Nebraska.

The rural health conference is September 11th and 12th.