We know PAs are beneficial and there efficiency and positive impact has been proven in numerous studies in Canada and the United States – but how do we pay for them?
Sources of PA funding currently comes from:
- Provincial government (Pilot and Demonstration Project)
- Provincial Government Grants (e.g. Career Start Grant Funding for Ontario PA graduates)
- Block funding (thru academic specialty groups)
- Direct funding from Physicians (e.g. right out of the physician’s pocket).
To date, there has been no robust funding model proposed for PAs in Canada, and this has been a pain point for growth of the PA profession in Ontario. In Ontario, if a physician does not have a grant to hire a PA from the government but would like to work with a PA, they are expected to pay for PAs out of their own pocket (direct funding from solo physicians, physician group, or hospital department). Some are able to manage, and others can see the benefit but cannot afford a PA. There is certainly benefit that comes with improved quality of life, increased access, etc. but when it comes to dollar and cents in an employer’s eyes PAs “should” be at least cost neutral or generate money for the practice. A funding model would certainly help with this dilemma.
The Conference Board of Canada has only briefly mentioned funding models in this report, but teases that funding models are subject of an upcoming report.