When Martin Morales, MHA, PA-C, arrived at Northwell Health (previously Long Island Jewish Medical Center) 28 years ago, PAs held no megaphone to advocate for their profession among top administrative posts.
Leading a small team of four full-time PAs, Morales drove efforts to increase PA influence, grow visibility and promote the value of their expertise to hospital administration. Now as corporate director of the PA service, Morales spearheads a community of more than 1,500 Certified PAs who hold positions of leadership in clinical and administrative arenas.
Morales worked a multi-pronged approach to enhance PA educational opportunities, promote PAs’ potential contributions, advance influence into the decision-making arena, and oversee the growth of incoming Certified PAs. ,/p>
“I advocated to have PAs at every site appointed to policy-making boards such at the Performance Improvement Coordinating Group, Credentials Committee and Medical Boards,” he said. “The value of a Certified PA is greatly appreciated now because we have PAs on these committees who are contributing content expertise.”
Morales also promotes several programs to set PAs on a career ladder that leads them to administrative work. Initiatives include tuition assistance for professional development and master’s programs.,/p>
Executive staff also summon his expertise throughout major innovative projects where he has been instrumental in contributing to significant policy changes to improve patient quality of care. Outcomes showed that patients appreciate immediate access to well-qualified medical professionals. Certified PAs offer versatile skill sets and greater accessibility, which increased patient and physician satisfaction and contributed to an increase in revenue at the hospital.
“As we proved our worth progressively, the administration gave us more and more resources,” said Morales. “We’ve had great acceptance by nursing and senior leadership administration.”
These Certified PAs boast another competitive advantage: the flexibility to transition from one specialty to another, a privilege Morales cites as one of the most rewarding aspects of the job.
“I’ve had the privilege to go from surgery to medicine to pediatric health to pulmonary cardiology,” said Morales. “The variety is what I enjoy the most about being a PA.”
With more resources and a highly skilled workforce, PAs at Northwell amassed favor among patients and physicians, and consequently, a growth in ranks. Northwell hires approximately 30 new PAs each month. The system also has joint ventures with 35 urgent care centers in the region, which employ about another 100 Certified PAs.
Under the direction of Morales, PAs have advanced educational opportunities, pathways to ascend clinical and administrative ranks, and movement across specialties. His efforts have proliferated the ranks and amplified PAs’ professional standing and influence among hospital administration.
“He is an exemplary leader and advocate for the PA profession,” said Ana Hallinan, PA-C, colleague of Morales. “He continuously searches for methods to make the most of our profession and encourages his fellow PAs to follow suit.”
NCCPA salutes Martin Morales, MHA, PA-C, for sustained efforts to lead the PA service into unchartered territory, new leadership roles and greater utilization across the healthcare system.