Considering the vast array of primary care issues that come up in my daily practice, not to mention the plethora of diagnostic studies ordered and interpreted by the PA (Let's not forget prescribing...), i'd say there's not much of a threat*. Even today, there are still an uncomfortable amout of doctors who consider us as only " trained to do what we need them to do” (Per the article quote); In otherwords, NOT a medical provider. for "Those" doctors, perhaps an ATC, or an RN, is better. With ATC only, all I see is an unlimited opprotunity for increased liability. It's clear from the quotes in the article that these particular docs are interested in the bottom line only, as there is no mention of PAs who are (Or once were) also ATCs (Of whom I've met several). As far as the OR goes, it's cluttered enough with all manner of shapes and sizes of those who can assist or "Hang out". Look at it from the other angle as well. If this is such a great option, why do ATCs (AND ortho nurses, a few who were in my class) flock to PA school. Let's be honest, 65K (What Emory pays per the article) ain't that much. This trend will burn itself out or get about as far as PTs with Ds (That profession hasn't really changed much as a result).
*My SP consistently complements me on my medical knowledge (A liablity-deterring asset), which has on several occaisions overted disaster. ATCs do not practice medicine and cannot provide the same value. The only viable alternative to this successful model is either micromanaging or instituting onerous protocols that reduce the ATC to a technician at best. For a large medical center or university this may be an option, but the single provider or group practice is far better off with a PA. This works out better for us in the end as they also tend to offer higher compensation:)