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CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS: EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE DURING DECLARED DISASTERS

 ANAHEIM, Calif., Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the California Academy of Physician Assistants:
 As hospitals, the Red Cross, and emergency medical service teams try to meet the medical needs of the thousands of people injured in Monday's devastating earthquake, we are asking the media's help in getting the word out that an important piece of legislation which would positively and immediately impact on filling the need for added medical personnel was signed by Gov. Wilson last year and became effective on Jan. 1, 1994. SB 633 (Deddeh) authorizes a physician assistant (PA) to perform certain medical services during a state of war, or local or state emergency, at the request of officials or agencies under the supervision of any available physician, instead of only under his or her supervising physician. It also relaxes the requirement that the supervising physician be personally or electronically available of that is not possible under the circumstances, and authorizes the local health officer to serve as supervising physician for an unlimited number of PAs during disasters.
 The need for such legislation was realized in the wake of the Loma-Prieta quake when hospitals and emergency medical teams found that they had to turn away skilled members of the health care team because of supervisory requirements. This new law enable physician assistants to immediately aid those in need of medical attention in times of disasters. Again, because this law is so new, we need your help in getting word out to those seeking added medical support.
 Physician assistants are specially trained health professionals, qualified by academic and clinical training to provide medical care. PAs, undergo extensive education enabling them to provide medical care, ranging from interviews and physician exams to diagnostic tests and procedures. After diagnosing a problem, the PA develops and implements a treatment plan.
 PAs, working with physicians, promote better distribution of health care services and can improve access to care in rural and underserved communities, as well as among the elderly. They also increase efficiency within ambulatory care practices, reduce patient waiting time and allow physicians more time for difficult cases. The use of PAs also prevents higher costs for health care through increased practice productivity.
 For more information, please contact Gaye Breyman at the California Academy of Physician Assistants.
 -0- 1/18/94
 /CONTACT: Gaye Breyman of the California Academy of Physician Assistants, 714-539-1430/


CO: California Academy of Physician Assistants ST: California IN: HEA SU:

IC-RB -- SE019 -- 2888 01/18/94 15:37 EST
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Date:Jan 18, 1994
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