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Multiple Sclerosis PA
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What is MS-PA*

PAs are vital to healthcare. The Affordable Care Act, which was enacted in 2010, recognized PAs for the first time as one of three primary care providers (PAs, Nurse Practitioners and Physicians). The law also empowered PAs to lead patient-centered medical teams. Team-based care is at the core of a PA’s training. PAs practice in a collaborative relationship with other members of a patient's healthcare team. This combination is a major source of their strength.

PAs are experts in general medicine. They undergo rigorous medical training. Before they can practice, PAs must graduate from an accredited program and pass the PA National Certifying Exam (PANCE), administered by the National Commission on Certification of PAs. Then, they must receive a license from the state in which they wish to practice.

Like physicians and NPs, PAs must complete extensive continuing medical education throughout their careers.

PAs are trusted healthcare providers. Studies have shown that when PAs practice to the full extent of their abilities education and experience, hospital readmission rates and lengths of stay decrease and infection rates go down. A Harris Poll found extremely high satisfaction rates among Americans who interact with PAs. The survey found that 93 percent regard PAs as trusted healthcare providers, 92 percent said that having a PA makes it easier to get a medical appointment and 91 percent believe that PAs improve the quality of healthcare.

*formerly known as Physician Assistants


PA Education

How are PAs educated and trained?

PAs are educated at the master's degree level. Incoming PA students bring with them an average of more than 3,000 hours of direct patient contact, having worked as paramedics, athletic trainers, or medical assistants, for example. PA programs are approximately 27 months (three academic years), and include classroom instruction and clinical rotations.

Students take courses in basic sciences, behavioral sciences and clinical medicine across subjects such as anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology and more.

They then complete a total of more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations in:

  • Family medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Pediatrics
  • General surgery
  • Emergency medicine
  • Psychiatry

In order to maintain certification, PAs must:

  • Complete a recertification exam every 10 years
  • Complete 100 hours of continuing medical education (CME) every two years

PAs in Neurology work in outpatient, academic, private, hospital based systems.  They evaluate new MS and established MS patients and make treatment decisions, order lab work and other testing. They provide a link to general wellness and preventative care as well as ongoing management. PAs work well in a team-based model to optimize the care that an MS patient receives throughout their lifetime.


The MS Team

PAs practice in every state and in every medical setting and specialty. 

They treat patients in:

  • MS Clinics
  • Academic Settings
  • VA practices
  • Rural and urban community health centers
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Home care agencies
  • Palliative care programs
  • Acute care units

Purpose and Goals

Purpose and Goals of the PA special interest group in MS include 

  • Increase awareness of the contributions that PAs make in caring for patients land their families living with MS.
  • Educate and sustain opportunities for PAs in MS care
  • Establish a network for MS PAs to collaborate with other clinicians and professionals

Join Now

Anyone who is interested in learning more or being a part of this group can go to the new MS-MHP webpage. All MS professionals interested in mental health issues are encouraged to join. To join the MS-MHP Group, please click here.

Virtual Journal Club

Advanced Perspectives in MS: A Virtual Journal Club Series for the Advanced Practice Multiple Sclerosis Clinician

Due to the complex challenges presented by multiple sclerosis, the ever-changing landscape of treatment options, and the evolving nature of care trends for patients, it is vitally important that clinicians treating MS patients have access to the latest information available regarding the disease. Journal articles are a perfect example of the timely education that is required to keep pace with the current clinical environment. These articles are normally fairly brief, which allows busy practitioners to fit education into their schedule in manageable blocks of time. Additionally, research which is newly published in journals, typically contains the most up-to-date information available, eliminating the need to check for accuracy. These live and enduring webinars will offer continuing education credits for physicians, PAs, nursing professionals, and pharmacists (if applicable) and will occur every other month for five sessions. Following the live broadcast, the event will be archived for one year.

Click here to view the activity.

The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers

3 University Plaza Drive, Suite 116 Hackensack, NJ 07601

Tel: 201.487.1050 | Fax: 862.772.7275