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Valley Urological Associates regularly features tips and information about how to maintain urological health. Be sure to check back regularly to learn about ways to maintain proper urological health!

Meet the Valley Urological Associates Physician Extender

There's no better way to maintain proper urologic health than to take full advantage of all of the resources that Valley Urological Associates provides its patients. The newest resource? Our highly qualified physician extenders!

Meet Valley Urological Associates physician extender: Richard D. Burns, PA-C. Richard has been a welcome addition to the Valley Urological practice, and it is important to make sure that each patient understands the role that this highly-experienced professional plays as part of the Valley Urological patient care team.

First, it may be helpful to explain the initials after Richard's name. PA-C stands for "certified physician assistant." Regardless of the initials following his name, Richard has excellent credentials and is part of the growing field in medicine known as "physician extenders."

The descriptor "physician extender" is very appropriate. The presence of such skilled professionals, in a very real way, "extends" the ability of medical practices to see more patients more quickly instead of delaying a needed office visit. In fact, numerous studies have shown that physician extenders can provide high quality health care - comparable to that of a doctor, for nearly 8 in 10 of the conditions normally treated in primary care physician offices. Thus, if the doctor's appointment calendar is full, many patients' needs can be met very effectively by the physician extender. Add to this the critical shortage of urologists in Pennsylvania as well as nationwide, and the valuable role played by physician extenders is easily understood.

In the future, reliance on physician extenders will continue and even increase as a "perfect storm" takes shape on the horizon: as healthcare reform and improved access to care is provided to some 30 million additional Americans, and as a growing number of urologists retire along with the population of aging "baby boomers," physician extenders will continue to perform a vital service in urology - and other medical practices - across the country.

Physician Extenders Receive Excellent Training

Patients can be assured that physician extenders receive excellent training. Most physician extenders have a minimum of a bachelor's degree and four years of related health care experience, such as an emergency medical technician, licensed practical nurse, health educator, or similar background. Additionally, physician extenders normally complete additional education training, often associated with colleges of medicine. These programs vary in length, but are typically 25 to 27 months long.

Physician Extenders Provide Range of Services

Physician extenders frequently perform many tasks that were once performed only by doctors. For example, at Valley Urological Associates, Mr. Burns performs routine physical examinations, takes patient histories, provides preliminary diagnoses, prescribes medications and certain diagnostic tests, and assists with the medical management of patients. All of this is carried out under the guidance, direction, and specific authorization, of Dr. Doebler and Dr. Corral.

Dr. Doebler and Dr. Corral have both been extraordinarily pleased with the reaction of their patients to Mr. Burns. Importantly, both doctors want to reassure patients that they are still monitoring and managing their care, and they are directly supervising the care provided by Mr. Burns.

"What we want our patients to understand," said Dr. Doebler, "is that we've added Richard to the team for one purpose, and only one purpose: to maintain our commitment to quality care and ensure that our patients are seen promptly. Although patients may occasionally be seen by Richard, what patients may not be aware of is what happens behind the scenes to make sure that Dr. Corral and I understand what brought patients into the office, what their concerns are, and how we remain involved in managing their care. This isn't an issue of cutting costs," added Dr. Doebler, "but rather ensuring that quality and timeliness of care remain our top priority."

The next time you visit Valley Urological Associates and have the opportunity to meet Mr. Burns, we encourage you to ask questions. Ask him about his background, why he chose a career in medicine, and how he enjoys his work at Valley Urological Associates. We are confident you will be impressed! If you have questions about Valley Urological Associates physician extenders, or other concerns, please let one of the doctors or other member of the care team know. You can also submit your comment or question through the Valley Urological website at www.valleyuro.com/ask.html.

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