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Advanced practice providers fill critical health care role

Mike Shipp, certified physician assistant, joins Bothwell team

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Mike Shipp, a former paramedic and recently retired colonel from the U.S. Air National Guard, is now at Bothwell Walk In Clinic as a certified physician assistant. He joins more than 30 other advanced practice providers (APP) working at Bothwell’s 20-plus clinics and in the hospital.

An APP is a health care provider who is not a physician but who performs medical activities typically performed by a physician. They educate patients about their diagnoses and treatments, improve patients’ health and wellness and provide high-quality, patient-centered care. Advanced practice providers are most commonly nurse practitioners or physician assistants and can handle many common medical questions and illnesses. 

Shipp will provide patient care including diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting labs and tests, prescribing medications and performing procedures under the guidance and supervision of collaborating physician Dr. Jeffrey Sharp of Bothwell Family Medicine Associates. 

Shipp enlisted in the United States Air Force Medical Service Specialist Corp in 1982. He has many years of experience in emergency and urgent care as well as operations, strategic planning and training with the Air National Guard. 

“When I first enlisted, I knew I wanted to be a medic,” he said. “I served as a paramedic until 1996 and attended the Army Physician Assistant program in San Antonio, Texas, in 1997.” 

The use of APPs, also called mid-level practitioners, first emerged in the 1960s in response to a shortage of primary care physicians. The number of APPs continues to grow thanks in part to their ability to help physicians increase efficiency and improve patient satisfaction and Bothwell Regional Health Center is no exception.

Bothwell has 32 advanced practice providers on staff in the hospital and clinics who work with 45 physicians, which means more access to health care services for people in the community. 

“The term mid-level refers to the complexity of health care situations they manage, not the quality of the care they provide,” said Keith Morrow, Bothwell’s Clinic Operations vice president. “By expanding the number of APPs at Bothwell, we are ensuring that people can see a provider when they need one.”

Shipp completed an Emergency Medicine PA Fellowship at the University of Nebraska in 2001 and worked for the University of Missouri Health Care Emergency Department in Columbia until 2013. From 2013 to 2017 he served as a clinical instructor in the St. Louis University Medical Hospital Trauma Surgery department. He also is a veteran of operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. This summer he completed his 20-year military career in Chief Medical Operations in the Office of the Joint Surgeon in Arlington, Virginia.

In addition to the Walk in Clinic, Shipp will see patients in the Bothwell Employee Wellness Clinic. This clinic provides workplace health care services for Bothwell’s business partner employees.

“I’m really excited to be at Bothwell serving patients both at the walk-in clinic and in the Bothwell Employee Clinic,” he said. “My experience in emergency medicine is especially relevant to the types of cases I will see in the walk-in environment where people often come in with injuries or illnesses that need urgent attention.”

While nurse practitioners make up the majority of APPs within Bothwell, Shipp is the second PA to join Bothwell along with Lindsey Graham, a certified physician assistant at Bothwell Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. Tracey Arwood is a certified nurse midwife at Bothwell OB/GYN Associates and five certified registered nurse anesthetists work in the hospital. 

Morrow said Shipp is joining several nurse practitioners at the walk-in and employee wellness clinics to treat the growing number of people seeking care.
“We have a talented team of advanced practice providers throughout Bothwell,” he said. “They fulfill an important role in health care, especially in rural areas like ours. They can serve as someone’s primary care provider and take care of less serious or complex patients, yet a physician is still available when needed.” 

Originally from Fulton, Missouri, Shipp is new to Bothwell and eager to get to work in both clinics. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife of 41 years and granddaughters who live in the area.

“Without advanced practice providers like Mike and others, patient care at Bothwell would look very different,” Morrow said. “Our focus continues to be on what’s best for our patients and making sure people have access to quality health care services.”

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