Ask an Expert

What are the best ways to recognize National PA Week?

PA Week ’10, sponsored by the AAPA, kicks off October 6 and runs thru October 12. The Academy says that, in light of recent healthcare legislation, this year’s observation is particularly relevant for demonstrating the role that PAs can continue to play in providing care to a growing number of Americans. Whether or not you plan activities or other initiatives specific to PA Week ’10, you can find useful resources for public education about PAs in healthcare at the AAPA webpage: www.aapa.org/upcoming-events/pa-week. Some of the guidance provided could be useful year-round, such as tips for working with local media and planning an informational event in your area.

Be sure to check the resources on this site, as well, including articles about the integrating into a practice, working with staff, etc.

Are there benefits to a straight percentage salary?

Making the decision to take a straight percentage salary can be a scary step for a PA. Although intimidating, many experienced PAs have found that this type of agreement is actually the most beneficial to both the PA and supervising physician (SP). The most important factor when negotiating salary is to know how much you generate for the practice. Every PA should know exactly how much he/she generates for the practice on a monthly basis. There are many ways to keep track, and most business offices can do this fairly easily. Anytime an SP is not willing to share that number with their PA is a big red flag and that PA should seek employment elsewhere.

Once you know what you generate for the practice, you now need to subtract out overhead (office space, MA salary, health insurance, malpractice insurance, cosmetic costs, 401K, paid CME, etc). These benefits vary for every PA, and that is normal. If you add up your benefits and subtract from your total revenue collected, you will find that the benefits are about half of what you generate for the practice based on full time employment. Most PAs who prefer a percentage only salary fall in the 30-40% range. With a lot of benefits mentioned above, you should fall in the 30% range and with only a few benefits, you should fall in the 40% range. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and some PAs have bought into their practice as a partner and are paid at 50%. Most PAs paid by only percentage do not have any paid vacation time. If you are not generating income for the practice, you are not generating income for yourself. It is easy for an SP to agree to these terms because you are only asking to be paid on what you generate and not at all when you are not working. You can easily see how these types of arrangements are good for the PA, the SP and the practice.

Kasey Drapeau D'Amato PA-C, MPAP is a board certified Physician Assistant who has been practicing Dermatology since 2003. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and her Masters degree from the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. Kasey trained and works extensively with Dr. Lauren Reager at Santa Monica Dermatology Medical Group in Santa Monica, California. A Diplomate of the National Society of Dermatology PAs, she is committee chair for the SDPA distance CME program.