Earn honorarium from paid medical surveys

Modern MedEd partners with MD for Lives to bring you paid online surveys.
Get a $20 bonus just for signing up. For medical professionals only.

Earn unlimited CME on your phone at the point-of-care

Modern MedEd partners with MDCalc to bring you no-hassle CME that you can earn on your phone at the point of care. Earn CME just for using clinical calculators. No post-test required!

Get up to 100 quick & easy category 1 CME credits

Modern MedEd partners with Board Vitals to bring you up to 100 AMA PRA Category 1™ CME Credits in over 30 specialties. Save $125 with promo code MODERN125 before your CME stipend expires!

Get Unlimited Category 1 CME credits for up to 3 years

Modern MedEd partners with VisualDx to bring you unlimited AMA PRA Category 1™ CME Credits in over a dozen specialties. Get our exclusive deal of 2 years for $999 or 3 years for $1,499 before your CME stipend expires!

The Invisible Provider In An Invisible War

We have all been glued to our seats when not working, to keep tabs on the Covid-19 virus which has become pandemic. Our lives have changed in the blink of an eye and we have discovered what it is to be living in a time when exposure can mean death and the soldiers are healthcare providers.

Last Updated: 27 March 2020

PAs and NPs have been invisible in the COVID-19 fight

By Robert M. Blumm, PA, DFAAPA, PA-C Emeritus

The Invisible War

We have all been glued to our seats when not working, to keep tabs on the Covid-19 virus which has become pandemic. Our lives have changed in the blink of an eye and we have discovered what it is to be living in a time when exposure can mean death and the soldiers are healthcare providers.

President Trump has called this “The Invisible War.” As I write this short article, I am directing my focus on the invisible soldier in this war, the PA.

The PA profession has a history of being unrecognized by laymen. We have gone on for the past fifty years camouflaged in spite of the work that we accomplish. We are not recognized for the profession that we are and as I listen to the President, the CDC, the Admiral of USPHS, the other scientists and physicians and administrators from the White House, I have yet to hear the title of PA.

Why are we not mentioned? Are we invisible? Apparently.

Iowa PAs have been petitioning their state legislature unrelentingly and as I went to bed last night, the following post was made online:


Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday that she signed a bill allowing for physician assistants to expand their services.

“Enabling physician assistants to better serve the health care needs of Iowans will result in better care in a timelier fashion,” said Reynolds. “As the state continues to combat the spread of COVID-19 and the strains it will place on our health care system, this will be yet another tool in our arsenal.” This gives physician assistants expanded prescription rights. It also gives them more legal protection in doing so and the ability to be reimbursed by Medicaid as well as other changes. These are the results of proactive legislation.

The Invisible Clinician

PAs – and NPs, who have also not been mentioned as a profession – need to be proactive because our lives and the lives of our families are on the line.

Every time a PA examines a patient in their office, the emergency room, or in the urgent care clinic, they expose themselves to infection.

As a soldier in a war zone, I had my weapons and I had the necessary equipment to care for my fellow soldiers. The same applies to every corpsman and their ability to care for their fellow grunts. Yet, in this war against the invisible enemy, too many of us do not have the necessary supplies; we do not have the proper masks, gloves, suits or therapeutics and diagnostic equipment to serve the citizens of the United States.

As of today, March 18, sixty healthcare providers have been infected and a thousand more have been quarantined due to exposure. But who are they? America does not know. And what is expected of them? And who can they enlist in the fight for recognition?

Who Supports the Invisible?

I will answer the second question first. We can and do get support from our national organization, the AAPA. This is a renewed opportunity to support the profession and to “announce” us to the broader news media.

They have been steadfast during this time of international pandemic to reach out and demonstrate their capabilities, advocacy and support of those qualities which define us as PAs.

We need to have the White House Administration, all of the speakers, our elected officials as well as the admiral from the USPHS acknowledge our contribution. We need to ask the White House PAs who care for the president and vice president to whisper in their ear. We need to ask our governors and emergency room directors for a Shout Out. This is our time!

What is Expected of Us?

What are we expected to do? We are expected to leave our spouses, children and perhaps our parents to engage in hand-to-hand combat with Covid 19.

Our risks are almost incalculable due to the number of patients being triaged and provided cared, not to mention the stressful clinical environments in which we serve. We are forced to work beyond our capacity at times.

We recognize that 4 in 100,000 emergency department (ED) visits result in medical malpractice allegations. An analysis of 1,300 of these malpractice suits helps to provide some insight: care in the ED is episodic and fragmented, especially the diagnostic process which involves communication and cooperation among other professionals, especially when dealing with a crisis.

Forty-seven (47%) percent of these cases in the ED are for failure to diagnose. Thirty-nine (39%) percent of ED visits in this group are judgement errors relating to ordering a test or an image. These situations require strong judgement and excellent clinical skills – but this invisible war has an invisible diagnosis, exacerbated by broad-ranging common symptoms which present a very challenging dilemma.

Protect Yourself and Your Patients

Among things invisible which are required, is malpractice insurance.

These are dangerous times for the patient, the care providers, and for PAs and NPs who are on the frontlines of treatment.

Could we make one of the errors listed above? Most certainly. While we are valiantly doing everything in our power to save lives, so will a plaintiff stand ready to litigate – regardless of the current healthcare crisis and landscape.

As this pandemic passes, there will undoubtedly be many lawsuits directed back to these critical months of care. We are not only talking about COVID-19, but ALL medical care in general.

We are healthcare professionals. But we are also individuals who must process these new uncertainties and realities just like everyone else. We are managing our stress on the front lines where sadly, the enemy is within the gates.

Why compound our anxiety with concerns about litigation? If we own our own malpractice insurance policy that has been vetted for its strength and quality and endorsed by our organization, we need not be fearful.

My national association, AAPA, has endorsed a policy. Although I hope never to endanger a patient, I am comforted that the full power of CM&F’s malpractice policy is standing beside me. With unsurpassed financial strength ratings of A++ (A.M. Best) and AA+ (Standard & Poor's), this is the highest quality malpractice insurance available. My future is in good hands with CM&F.

Robert M. Blumm, PA, DFAAPA, PA-C Emeritus

Blumm is a surgical PA, national conference speaker, author, former AAPA liaison to American College of Surgeons, Editorial Advisory Board Clinician1, Advisory Board POCN, Reviewer for Urgent Care Journal, Past President of four state and national association. He is now retired.


* indicates required
I am interested in...
Join Our Panel of Medical Writers

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Modern MedEd:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Quickly & Easily Find CME
Based on Your Learning Preferences

(18 modailties found)

Click the icon or title to go straight to the most relevant section of the website for that particular CME format.

Audio CME Courses

Listen to your CME while pretending you've found the secret to multitasking.

Clinical Decision Support CME

Experience next level CME with AI-powered clinical decision support tools.

CME Conferences

Miss CME meetings? Take a look at some real-life (and virtual) CME events!

CME with Gift Card Rewards

CME with gift cards and other rewards to stretch your CME allowance further than ever.

Medical Calculators that Earn CME

Earn CME credits at the point of care for using the tools you already know and trust.

Medical Spanish CME Tutoring

Take your communication to the next level and increase access to care for entire communities.

CME Subscriptions

Pay once, access CME for two or three years in dozens of specialties. Updates included.

Online CME Activities

Now that you know you don't HAVE to travel for CME anymore, why would you?

Psychedelic CME

Stay ahead of the game with the latest research in psychedelic medicine. Patients will be asking.

Procedural (Hands-On) CME

Learn essential procedures from home with the same professional materials more cost-effectively.

Question Bank CME

Engaging board-style vignettes with CME credit that adds up quickly and easily.

Travel CME

Learn about essential updates from somewhere you've never been before.

Unlimited CME Credits

Earn all the CME credits you could possibly need (or want) from one CME purchase.

Wilderness CME

Enhance your medical survival skills by practicing in real-life environments with experienced instructors.

Video CME

Visual learners have more options than ever for finding quality CME that speaks to their style.


Learn stuff. Ski. Repeat.
Get paid for claiming "SKI-M-E" credit.

CME Cruises

Earn CME on a river. Or earn CME credits at sea. Don't forget to claim your "SEA"-M-E.

Augmented Reality CME

Give it a few years and it'll be cool.
Just you watch.

Our CME Values: Quality Certified

We work with independent CME providers that do not accept industry funding.

ANy CME we recommend meets the following standards:

Providers not meeting these standards may be mentioned for sake of completeness or topic relevance.
Our relationship will be clearly disclosed.