Physician Extenders: Essential to Expansion of Rehabilitation Services

Subacute Rehabilitation Services in Wake County

With the expansion of our medical services in Wake County, including plans to grow outpatient care, physician extenders work closely with faculty members as part of a larger, interdisciplinary team.

“The physician extenders help ensure the care plan is carried out and the patient's issues are appropriately addressed,” says Tanya Zinner, MD, medical Director of Rex UNC Health Care Rehabilitation & Nursing Care Center of Raleigh and medical director of UNC-Rex Outpatient Rehabilitation Services.

“They address acute medical issues and pain management, monitor wounds, check labs, as well as meet with family and team members," Dr. Zinner notes. "We discuss any questions or difficult problems daily and work closely together. I am lucky to have a great team of extenders who ensure the patients receive excellent care.”

Kristen Broom
Kristen Broom

Kristen Broom, MSN, FNP, enjoys working with the variety of patients at the UNC-Rex rehabilitation facilities in Apex and Raleigh.

“Kristen had extensive experience in family medicine, so she has a lot of knowledge to help manage a variety of medical problems,” says Paul Than, MD, medical director of Subacute and Long-Term Care at Rex-UNC Rehabilitation of Apex. “Kristen works on rehabilitation plans for our subacute patients, and also helps care for our long-term patients.”

Tracy Watson, MS, PA-C, also based primarily in Wake County, has worked in a number of patient settings including cardiac rehabilitation, impatient medicine, and surgery, to name just a few.

“In sub-acute rehabilitation, we have everyone from stroke patients to people who have undergone joint replacements,” Watson says. “For the transition home, we give patients the confidence that they can do daily activities.”

Tracy Watson
Tracy Watson

As a team member at UNC-Rex Rehabilitation Center in Raleigh, Watson depends on the nurses and therapists to tell her when they notice anything different about a patient. With oversight from with Tanya Zinner, MD, the team makes sure each patient is improving.

“We had a stroke patient who was working really hard,” Watson notes. “He came from inpatient to subacute, because he needed more time to recuperate.”

For this and other patients, Watson also uses her background in exercise science. “Exercise helps all patients, across the board,” she observes. “A lot of what we do in rehabilitation is movement-based therapy. For example, some of our patients can’t use weight machines. They need to use their body weight to strengthen, because that translates better into real life.”

The subacute rehabilitation team looks forward to the arrival of Brian Alfano, MS, PA-C, a physician extender who will join in early 2012.


Rebecca Artinian
Rebecca Artinian

Managing Rehabilitation and Wellness at Work

Rebecca Artinian, MS, PA-C
, provides essential services at the UNC Employee Occupational Health Clinic, working with James Hill, MD, MPH, medical director. The clinic serves all UNC employees.

Artinian provides first care and initial diagnoses of work-related illnesses and injuries along with prescribing return to work status, follow-up care, and medical case management. She also conducts medical clearance exams for employees using respiratory protection or working with hazardous materials, and provides health care immunizations.

Her experience includes working in an emergency room, which helps her treat acute injuries. “Most of what we see is routine and preventative, but you never know until someone walks in,” she says.

“Most of the injuries we see are sprains and strains, but we also treat other injuries such as lacerations, chemical exposures and minor eye injuries,” Artinian adds. “We provide referrals to other providers as needed.”

Contributions from Physician Extenders

“Our physician extenders allow us to expand our expertise to other areas of our community and to diverse patient populations,” notes Susan Evers, MPH, FACHE, associate chair for administration at UNC Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. “Our surrounding communities, whether on or off campus, benefit greatly from these highly qualified team members.”