SAN ANTONIO — A split clinic model allows physician assistants (PAs) to practice independently from physicians at academic teaching institutions while maintaining a high quality of care, according to research presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA).

Travis L. Randolph, PA-C, ATC, and colleagues, of the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center at West Virginia University, conducted a 6-month pilot study comparing the difference between PAs working in split clinics versus shared clinics at academic teaching institutions. In the split clinic models, PAs functioned autonomously as a health care provider; PAs practicing in a shared clinic model functioned like a medical resident and were paired with a supervising physician.

At the end of the 6-month study, the researchers saw a 17% increase in total number of patients seen in split clinics versus shared clinics, as well as a 41% increase in new patients and a 16% increase in returning patients.

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“This study illustrates that utilizing PAs appropriately can significantly increase patient access to care and generate increased revenue for the department,” concluded Mr. Randolph. “Utilizing a split clinic model allows physician assistants to function at the highest scope of their practice and provide quality patient care at academic teaching institutions.”


  1. Randolph TL, McDonough EB, Olson ED. Pilot study: Utilization of physician assistants at academic teaching hospitals. ePoster presented at: American Academy of PAs 2016; May 14-18, 2016; San Antonio, Texas