Vinton, IA (October 6, 2017) – Every year, we celebrate National PA Week from October 6-12, and recognize the important contributions that PAs (physician assistants) make to Iowa’s healthcare system. This year, PA Week is especially exciting, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the profession – and 50 years of providing the best possible care to our patients.

PAs are nationally certified and state-licensed medical professionals who practice on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers. There are currently more than 115,000 PAs in the country and [number] PAs in [state].

“The PA profession is growing every year, which allows us to provide care to more patients, especially in a rural area such as Benton County.” said Mike Riege, Virginia Gay Hospital Administrator. “We’ve accomplished a lot over the last five decades, and we’re ready for five more.”

Here at Virginia Gay Hospital, Clinics, Home Health, Nursing & Rehab, we believe in our PAs and are proud of the hard work they do every day, and during PA Week, we are proud to recognize the PAs in our organization and celebrate all they do for the health of the patients they serve.

Part of our mission is to get the word out about PAs in Iowa and all over the country by informing general public about who PAs are and why they’re an essential part of our healthcare team.

PAs practice in every medical and surgical specialty. They also conduct physical exams, perform medical procedures, first assist in surgery, counsel patients on preventative healthcare, coordinate patient care, make rounds in nursing homes and hospitals, and conduct clinical research.

PAs are also educated through graduate-level programs that average 27 months and require the same prerequisite courses as medical schools. All PA students complete at least 2,000 hours of clinical rotations, which cover every major specialty, from family medicine to general surgery to emergency medicine.

“Our organization wouldn’t be the same without the hard work of our PAs,” said Riege. “PA Week is a great opportunity to recognize them, and to say thank you.”

To learn more about all the primary care providers at Virginia Gay Hospital, visit