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Giving PAs the Ability to Become Partners in Medical Corporations

February 2014

In most states, corporate law does not allow for non-physicians to become partners in medical corporations. The historical reasons for this are diverse and many, but it is accurate to say that all of these laws were enacted before the PA profession was present in medicine as it is today. It is important to note that only physicians and PAs can legally practice medicine.  In a few states, PAs are allowed to enter into partnerships in medical corporations, but in most states, PAs are not allowed to legally own any portion of a corporation.  In those states, only physicians and dentists are allowed to partner in these medical enterprises.

PAs for Tomorrow asks that every PA state organization initiate the conversation that will lead to legislation change allowing PAs to enter into partnerships in medical corporations.

Medicine is changing.  Today, more than ever, this conversation is increasingly important to our profession. Some of those reasons include:

1. PAs are licensed to practice medicine. It is discriminatory for PAs to be disallowed the opportunity other providers have to build a practice from ground zero. 

2. PAs have built medical practices with physicians or groups of physicians only to be disallowed ownership in a portion of that practice. 

3. Many medical practices are selling to hospitals and large groups while new types of medical groups and associations are forming.  PAs are medical providers who should be able to be part of the sale and re-organization of these groups.

4. At a time when US Healthcare has both access to care and provider shortage issues, experienced PAs could be offered partnerships as an enticement to stay in an underserved area or within a specialty that needs them.  Others can be offered this enticement to stay, but because of antiquated legislation and language, PAs cannot.  Often, this prompts leaving a position the PA would otherwise continue. 

5. While PAs work in practices for many years, there is no way for them to document business agreements or other “sweat equity” when a practice is sold, a physician unexpectedly passes away or moves. Legal partnerships would be more equitable for the PA and protect their business interests and commitment to a medical practice. 

It is important to note that the passage of legislation allowing PAs to become corporate partners will not make all PAs partners, nor should it. It will only allow those PAs with an interest in corporate partnership to develop and build a business in their own right.  It will also allow physicians and medical organizations the ability to offer a PA partnership just as any business can offer an employee equity. As the PA profession currently numbers 100,000 practicing clinicians, this will only increase in importance as PAs venture into agreements with physicians and healthcare organizations to deliver care in different ways in different specialties in different business models.

PAs for Tomorrow is a  professional organization for all PAs of all specialties.  It represents the future interests of all PAs, providing a vocal core group of PAs committed to seeing the PA profession reach its deserved place among America's health care providers and advocating for their role as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive and patient-centered health care. 

©PAs for Tomorrow

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