Healthy Tahoe: Meet the experts on your healthcare team |

Healthy Tahoe: Meet the experts on your healthcare team

Matthew Wonnacott, MD

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, there is a shortage of physicians in the United States – a shortfall that can be as high as 104,000 doctors by 2030. This issue, as well as an aging population, is changing health care and the need to increase providers to meet the demand of patients and expand access.

Barton is committed to providing our community with the care they need when they need it. We are expanding access to care by adding new experts throughout our healthcare system to work alongside Barton doctors.

When visiting one of Barton’s offices, your care provider may have “NP” or “PA” on their badge. These credentials indicate that they are advanced practice clinicians, experts in their field of medicine and well-equipped to treat patients in a primary care or specialty setting.

A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse who has additional responsibilities for administering patient care than a Registered Nurse (RN). NPs are highly skilled and can examine patients, diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication, and provide treatment, similar to a physician.

When visiting a doctor’s office, you might be seen by a Physician Assistant (PA). These medical professionals can perform physical examinations, diagnose illness, and develop treatment strategies, order and interpret lab tests, counsel patients on preventative health, perform various medical procedures, assist in surgical operations, and write prescriptions.

The introduction of PAs and NPs working alongside physicians began in the 1960s. The U.S. Veterans Affairs (VA) health system was the first system in the United States to use PAs, and now both NPs and PAs have been fully integrated into the VA with success.

Advanced practice clinicians like PAs, NPs, and FNPs (Family Nurse Practitioners) have been caring for our community for years.

Barton is proud to have these professionals as an important part of our medical care team treating adults, children, and welcoming new patients every day in the hospital and our medical offices around town.

Having advanced practice clinicians throughout our health system helps Barton expand access to care; meaning more medical experts to care for our community, and less waiting to see one of our exceptional providers.

To learn more about establishing primary care for you or your family, visit

Dr. Matthew Wonnacott is Chief Medical Officer at Barton Health, with over 20 years of experience.

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