"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A New and Exciting Opportunity for Western Maryland

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with representatives from Frostburg State University, Allegany College of Maryland, Allegany County Board of Education and a few others to discuss the potential opportunity to bring a Physician’s Assistant (PA) program to Western Maryland.  Currently, there are only three programs in Maryland and none in Western Maryland.  The group heard a presentation by James Cawley, who is a professor at George Washington University, one of the country's leading PA schools. 

Although it would take almost two years to develop such a program, it has great potential for our region.  Physician's Assistants, along with other advanced practice professionals such as Nurse Practitioners, are in high demand as the number of physicians continues to decline nationwide.  The mean salary in the US for a PA is $102,000 annually and the 6500 students graduating from PA schools are always in high demand, especially those who graduate with a focus in primary care.  There are currently over 90K PAs nationwide and 65% are now female.  Forty seven percent of PAs are hospital based and 33% are in primary care. 

The outcome of the meeting was to pursue the opportunity through a feasibility study led by Frostburg State University.  Such a program could certainly be a win, win, win for the students in the region, the college and university as well as for the providers.


  1. Although certainly exciting and needed for this area, as well as nation wide, wouldn't a Nurse Practitioner program be a better fit with FSU? The college already has the RN to BSN program and staff that could potentially teach NP level courses. I just see it as a better use of existing resources at FSU and feasibility of such an endeavor may increase.

  2. Since the inception of their Baccalaureate in Nursing, they have successfully expanded into two Master’s Degree in Nursing, as well. They plan to offer an NP program in the near future as it is already in the works.