Q&A with our Corporate Director of Physician Assistant Services, Martin Morales
How long have you worked for Northwell Health?
I started at Long Island Jewish Medical Center 29 years ago before the first merger of Long Island Jewish and North Shore University Hospital. I am still in awe at the great amount of integration that has taken place by way of mergers acquisitions, affiliations and joint ventures resulting in Northwell Health.
Can you talk about your career progression within the health system?
Northwell Health has provided me with a wonderful career ladder, and given me the resources to climb that ladder. I started as a PA supervisor in Medicine in 1988 with 4.6 PA’s on my service. We were so effective that by 1994 we had increased our number 10 fold. Northwell Health supported my efforts to complete a Master’s Degree in Health Administration at Hofstra by providing tuition reimbursement, entered me in our High Potentials Program (HiPo) where I was mentored by Senior Leadership, and entered in the Academy for Health Care Leadership Advancement at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. I am now Corporate Director for 1.200 PA’s across the organization and its Joint Ventures.
Can you speak to the relationship between our Physicians and our Physician Assistants throughout the health system?
Because Physician Assistants didactic training is as demanding as medical school, and PA’s train alongside residents and interns for over 12 months, the physician and PA bond is very strong. This results in a high degree of respect and trust.
What role do PA’s play here at our hospitals and facilities?
Physician Assistants are indispensable here at Northwell Health. They provide care in 21 different specialties at over 22 facilities. They perform physical assessments, diagnose and treat patients, frequently with a high degree of experienced based autonomy. They assist in all areas of Surgery and perform many highly technical procedures with the skill and competencies expected of a physician.
Finish this sentence: Without our Physician Assistant’s, we wouldn’t be able to…..
Without our Physician Assistants, access to care would be impaired with longer wait times in almost any area where care is provided. Physicians would be burdened with taking care of patients with more minor issues, impairing their ability to handle patients needing a higher level of decision making. Procedures for which our PA’s are well qualified would be delayed, resulting in increased length of stay, increased readmission rates and decreased patient satisfaction. Our PA’s are skilled in monitoring patients and applying interventions that result in decreased infection rates and other patient safety related issues.
Please explain why someone would want to be a Physician Assistant here.
Northwell Health holds the highest standards for Physician Assistants.
We require Basic and Advanced Cardiac life Support training as well as continuous National Certification. There is mandated continuing education (100 hours) every two years and periodic National certification Exam (every 6- 10 years). We support advancement in the clinical and administrative arena for PA’s. As the largest employer of Physician Assistants in the country, our PA’s share a collegiality and recognition not found in other geographic areas.
What would you like to say to our PA employees during recognition week?
We attract the top of the class because we train hundreds of Physician Assistants from 8 different programs. It gives us the opportunity to recruit the best of the profession which is well represented by our PA staff. Our Physician Assistants are extremely competent, caring and compassionate and are highly regarded by Nurses, Physicians, ancillary personnel and especially patients. They will continue to be an integral part of our team as organization and healthcare in general evolve further. As I travel to conferences all over the country, the envy from other PA Directors is palpable because we have the best of the PA profession here. I am extremely grateful to all the Physician Assistants here in our organization for their unwavering support all these years.
On behalf of all the leadership at Northwell Health, staff, and patients, we celebrate this time of recognition of your immense contributions. Happy Physician Assistants Recognition Week.