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Lake Regional Celebrates Physician Assistants

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A physician assistant (PA) is an essential health care provider, and during PA week, Oct. 6-12, Lake Regional Health System recognized their valuable contributions in providing exceptional care to patients.

“Our physician assistants are an integral part of the Lake Regional health team,” said Michael Burcham, vice president of Lake Regional Physician Practices. “Don’t be misled by their title: PAs are not assistants to physicians. These licensed medical experts can examine, diagnose and treat patients, as well as prescribe medicine. And while they collaborate with doctors, PAs can see patients on their own.”

PAs see patients in medical offices, hospitals, outpatient centers and other settings. In some clinics, PAs are the primary care providers you might see on a regular basis. Some even specialize –– for instance, in family medicine, emergency medicine, orthopedics or surgery.

Their specific duties can depend on where they practice, their specialty, state laws and other factors. But in general, PAs can:

• Do physical exams.

• Diagnose and treat diseases and injuries.

• Order and interpret x-rays, bloodwork or other medical tests.

• Create treatment plans.

• Talk to you about ways to stay healthy or manage a chronic disease.

• Assist in surgery.

PAs have a solid medical education and experience. Their background typically includes a master's degree, state licensing and extensive clinical training.

Lake Regional Health System has eight PAs located in Express Care, Emergency Medicine and Orthopedics: Whitney Arnold, PA-C; Keil Bluhm, PA-C; Valerie Donnelson, PA-C, C. David Eastep, MPAS, PA-C; Gina Fasano, PA-C; Bart Guyer, P.A.; Ryan Rogers, MPAS, PA-C; and Brian Swanson, PA-C.

Lake Regional Health System provides comprehensive health care services to residents and visitors throughout the mid-Missouri region. The hospital is a Level II Stroke Center, Level II STEMI (heart attack) Center and Level III Trauma Center. Lake Regional also provides a wide range of specialties, including cancer care, heart care, orthopedics and women’s health. Plus, Lake Regional operates primary care clinics, Express Care clinics, rehab therapy clinics, programs for home health and hospice, and retail pharmacies. To learn more, visit