Patient-Centered Medical Home Exposure & Its Impact on PA Career Intentions

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The transformation of primary care (PC) training sites into patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) has implications for the education of health professionals. This study investigates the extent to which physician assistant (PA) students report learning about the PCMH model and how clinical exposure to PCMH might impact their interest in a primary care career.

METHODS: An electronic survey was distributed to second-year PA students who had recently completed their PC rotation from 12 PA programs. Descriptive statistics and ordered logistic regression analyses were used to characterize the results.

RESULTS: A total of 202 second-year PA students completed the survey. When asked about their knowledge of the new health care delivery models, 30% of the students responded they had received instruction about the PCMH. Twenty- five percent of respondents stated they were oriented to new payment structures proposed in the Affordable Care Act and quality improvement principles. Based on their experiences in the primary care clerkship, 64% stated they were likely to pursue a career in primary care, 13% were not likely, and 23% were unsure. Predictors of interest in a primary care career included: (1) age greater than 35 years, (2) being a recipient of a NHSC scholarship, (3) clerkship site setting in an urban cluster of 2,500 to 50,000 people, (4) number of PCMH elements offered at site, and (4) positive impression of team-based care.

CONCLUSIONS: PA students lack adequate instruction related to the new health care delivery models. Students whose clerkship sites offered greater number of PCMH elements were more interested in pursuing a career in primary care.

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