Physician assistants (PAs) specially trained in emergency medicine can be used effectively to work with emergency medicine physicians to provide efficient and expedient high-quality patient care. The concept of using PAs in the emergency department is reviewed, and items of concern to professionals who are reluctant to use PAs are discussed. Financial issues and malpractice risk are examined, and our experience with patient perceptions is summarized. The PA program at Beth Israel Medical Center is used as a case study to demonstrate the use and integration of the PA within the division of emergency services. Although a well-trained emergency physician is the gold standard for quality patient care, cost-effective quality care for certain patient complaints can be rendered acceptably by others.