Resource Blog/Media/BHSF Benefits of APP HERO


The Physician—or Maybe Their Assistant—Will See You Now

When you go to see your doctor, chances are you may not actually see your doctor or if you do, it will be for just a few minutes near the end of your visit. Instead, you’re likely to be seen first by a Physician Assistant (PA) or an Advanced Practice Provider (APP). Both are crucial members of your healthcare team, doctors say.


APPs can read MRIs; interpret labs and test results; diagnose patients; establish care plans, and more. By handling many of the routine clinical services patients need, it frees up the physician to care for the sickest patients and to handle the inevitable emergencies that can come up on any given day. Best of all, they’re usually able to see you weeks before your busy physician can.


(Watch now: When you go to the doctor, you’re likely to be seen by an Advanced Practice Provider. See what Baptist Health physicians and their APPs have to say about the crucial role APPs play in caring for patients. Video by Barquin Photography.)


Timely access to care is an important consideration for many people, says Alexandra Turcios, an APP who serves as director for all the APPs at Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute. She says many doctors juggle a high volume of patients while also tending to emergencies and seeing patients in the hospital.


“One of the advantages of seeing an APP is being able to see a medical professional in a timelier manner,” Ms. Turcios says, noting that the APP specializes in the physician’s field and has completed rigorous education and training to earn the designation.


Charles Jordan, M.D., orthopedic trauma surgeon with Baptist Health Orthopedic Care, says it would be impossible for him to meet the daily demands of his busy practice without support from his APPs. He says that in his day-to-day activities as a physician, whether in the clinic or in the hospital, APPs are probably the most important people he works with.


Charles Jordan, M.D., orthopedic trauma surgeon with Baptist Health Orthopedic Care


“Some people call APPs physician extenders and that actually is really accurate because they are completely, 100 percent an extension of me and they enable me to do my job,” Dr. Jordan says. “I trust them, I know they have excellent clinical judgment and I know they’re going to take the utmost care of my patients and they’re going to keep me in the loop 24 hours a day with what’s going on.”


Neurosurgeon Jobyna Whiting, M.D., director of degenerative spine surgery at Miami Neuroscience Institute and the spine consultant for the Miami Dolphins, concurs with Dr. Jordan.


Jobyna Whiting, M.D., neurosurgeon and director of degenerative spine surgery at Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute


“APPs play a crucial role in our day-to-day programming. They allow us to be much more efficient and to provide good comprehensive care to a larger number of patients than we could otherwise,” Dr. Whiting says.


Lourdes Labraha, an APP with Baptist Health Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute, says she always knew she wanted to advance in her career, so she completed her Masters of Science in Nursing and then became certified as a nurse practitioner.


“What I enjoy most about being an APP is providing that care to the patients – providing them with the time and education that they need,” Ms. Labraha says. “To me, the most important thing about my career is that I can provide a healing hand to others, which is the best gift in life.”


Wilfredo Pineiro, a physician assistant with Baptist Health Orthopedic Care and director of Advanced Practice Providers there, says the interaction he has with the patients is what he enjoys most.


“Seeing how patients come into the practice in need of care, and then having the ability to provide that care for them and delivering high quality outcomes is essential to me,” Mr. Pineiro declares. “We’re able to spend a little bit more time with these patients, who feel that quality of time is essential to their care, and we provide a high quality of care for them.”


Mario Pascual, M.D., director of Electrophysiology at Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute, calls APPs an integral part of his team. “They’re truly an extension of the physician in establishing and delivering care to our patients,” he says. “They’re extremely well-educated and they truly are interested in the best patient outcomes. Even my own family members are very well taken care of by physician assistants within the system.”


Doctor Pascual

Mario Pascual, M.D., director of Electrophysiology at Baptist Health Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute


Dr. Pascual notes that physicians are in close touch with their APPs throughout the day and are always aware of any issues. “There’s not a day that goes by where I don't have at least ten conversations with our physician assistant,” he says.


So, the next time you go to see your doctor and you’re seen by their APP instead, don’t feel like you’re being shortchanged. Instead, take advantage of the time and the knowledge and expertise they can offer, and know that they’re keeping the doctor apprised of any issues regarding your health.


“If you call our office and the first available appointment is with an advanced practice provider, don’t wait to see the doctor, Ms. Turcios recommends. “If you’re having a problem with your health – whether it’s illness or pain or you’re just not feeling right – and your first availability is with an APP, I think it’s important to take that appointment.”


Dr. Jordan says he tells his patients, “Why would you wait two, maybe three weeks to see me when you can see my PA tomorrow. They can examine you. They have fantastic clinical acumen and clinical skills and diagnostic skills to be able to get you the right studies. The clinical judgment that I have is also the clinical judgment that they have.”

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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