<p>Just before the need for qualified medical providers expanded due to the onset of COVID-19, the Certified Physician Assistant workforce increased in every U.S. state. &nbsp;</p> <p>According to the <em><a href="https://prodcmsstoragesa.blob.core.windows.net/uploads/files/State_Report_2019_v4%20(updated)_compressed.pdf">2019 Statistical Profile of Certified Physician Assistants by State</a>,</em> an annual report issued by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA), the total number of Certified PAs grew 6.52% between 2018 and 2019. The states with the largest percentage increase were: Rhode Island (10.66%), Mississippi (10.0%), New Jersey (9.76%), Indiana (9.72%) and Missouri (8.83%). New York, which emerged as an early hotspot for the coronavirus in the United States, continued to have the highest number of Certified PAs in the country (13,526).</p> <p>In the months prior to hospitals reaching capacity, the states with the highest number of Certified PAs working in a hospital setting were: Maine (58.0%), New York (57.3%) and Massachusetts (57.2%).</p> <p>But before having to navigate a short supply of available hospital beds and PPE, the country continued to reckon with a shortage of primary care providers, particularly in rural areas. Certified PAs were positioned to address these shortages, as the report data indicates that rural states had a higher percentage of their Certified PA workforce practicing in primary care (family medicine/general practice, internal medicine-general, pediatrics-general). The states with the highest number of Certified PAs working in primary care included: Alaska (49.2%), North Dakota (46.3%), Wyoming (45.6%) and South Dakota (42.2%).</p> <p>&ldquo;Whether it be a once in a century pandemic, or the need for more primary care providers in rural areas, this report indicates that Certified PAs were ready to address the nation&rsquo;s health care challenges at a time when the country needed them the most,&rdquo; said NCCPA President and CEO Dawn Morton-Rias, Ed.D., PA-C. &ldquo;Over the past year we&rsquo;ve seen PAs mobilize across the country to assume their vital roles in America&rsquo;s COVID-19 response. As we enter the second year of the pandemic, PAs remain on the front lines, now distributing vaccines, while continuing their work ensure that patients maintain access to high-quality care for non-COVID related concerns.&rdquo;</p> <p>Additional findings from the report include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii and Kentucky reported the highest median number of patients seen by Certified PAs per week (75). Nationwide, 60 is the median number of patients seen by Certified PAs in a typical week. Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota and Wisconsin reported the lowest median number of patients seen by Certified PAs per week (50).</p> </li> <li> <p>Alaska ranks the highest in the rate of Certified PAs per 100,000 population.</p> </li> <li> <p>California had the highest percentage of Certified PAs who indicated that they speak another language with patients (52.7%), followed by New Mexico (38.1%). The most common language other than English spoken by Certified PAs with their patients was Spanish, followed by Chinese.</p> </li> </ul> <p>2020 Certified PA state practice data will be available later this year.</p> <p>Physician assistant is consistently ranked as one of the top jobs in America, most recently by <em>U.S. News and World Report</em> as #1 in the Best Health Care Jobs of 2021 and the top overall job in the country.</p>