DOD and Rand Corporation Studies Do Not Provide an Adequate Basis for Deciding on a Military Physician Assistant Grade Structure

FPCD-82-36: Published: Mar 17, 1982. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 1982.

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GAO was requested to review the use of physician assistants within the Department of Defense (DOD). Specifically, GAO analyzed the conflicting findings and recommendations of two independent studies of the physician assistant grade structure; one study was conducted by DOD, and the other was conducted for the Air Force by the Rand Corporation. It was pointed out that the Army, Navy, and Air Force each have different grade structures for physician assistants, and concern was expressed about the need for uniformity among the services.

GAO concluded that neither the DOD study nor the Rand Corporation study provides an adequate basis for making a decision on whether physician assistants should be commissioned officers, warrant officers, or noncommissioned officers, or what the grade structure should be within any one of these options. Furthermore, neither study adequately addressed the pros and cons of requiring a uniform grade structure among the three services.

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