Last week I wrote a letter to Wellness FX.
They are an intriguing and progressive California based health care start-up offering laboratory diagnostics and online consultations.
I wrote them asking if they were considering allied health professionals as part of their healthcare team.
This is the letter I received back:
Hi Stephen,Thank you for your interest in WellnessFX. At this time, WellnessFX is not accepting any applications from California-licensed practitioners as our network is currently full.In addition, we specifically seek physicians or registered dietitians for our network based on our need for deep clinical and nutritional analysis on lab results and other biomarkers.
I was immediately put off by this letter. The fact that they were not interested in allied health professionals because of their need for "DEEP clinical and nutritional analysis" really upset me.
This my friends is a sign that we as Physician Assistants need to step up.
Many people are confused by what we do as PA's and I accept that. But the fact that professional health care organizations are not interested in hiring PA's because they feel we cannot contribute a deep understanding of complex medical problems really erks me.
I was going to include my response letter to Wellness FX in this post but I have decided not to.
The question we need to be asking ourselves as PA's is: What we can we do to combat this selective ignorance? Or better yet:
What can you do?
- Put yourself out there: So many people are afraid to put themselves out there. To make themselves visible in the public sphere, something that is drastically needed by Physician Assistants. In order to be taken seriously we need to step up, show the world that we know what we are talking about and offer unique solutions to complex problems.
- Educate everyone you meet: Go to public schools, senior centers, health fairs etc. etc. Be proud of what you do and be eager to explain your profession. Of course the best way to do this is through action.
- Start a Physician Assistant run business: This is one that I am thinking about right now. I have been reading Muhammad Yunus' wonderful book Building a Social Business. It is inspiring me to maybe do just this. If more PA's step up and create real healthcare solutions that solve social problems people will take notice. And we will be doing what is ultimately right for our patients.
As a Physician assistant working in rural family practice for 8 years, who has learned Spanish and overcame many social barriers that exist to providing excellent health care, I feel that I have the ability to be "Deep".
I know many Physician Assistants, who are smart, pro-active, caring and extremely capable. It is time we come out of the wordwork and make ourselves noticed.
Over the next few posts I am going to explore how we can do this. But, I do feel the time is right. Technology is our friend, PA's are more ubiquitous than ever and the world has huge health problems that are in desperate need of "Deep" clinical analysis!