In Reply.—The PA concept was developed to help lessen the burden of the overworked physicians in our country. The concept was based on the fact that the majority of patients in most practice settings have common problems seen daily that can be competently treated by a practitioner with an educational background similar to that of PAs.
Exception must first be taken to Dr Kersten's use of the terms "nonmedical" and "partially trained practioners." The PA profession is a medical profession, both by design and actual service. They are thoroughly trained to perform many different tasks. An independent examining board tests that level of training by a rigorous entry-level examination, and PAs are further required to maintain a high level of competence by a mandatory 100 hours of continuing medical education courses every two years.
The fact that Dr Kersten concedes he could teach a high school graduate to be