PA Profession Poised to Advance

By Josanne Pagel, MPAS, PA-C, Karuna® RMT, DFAAPA
AAPA President and Chair of the Board

More than 7,000 of us had an incredible week in Las Vegas at AAPA 2017! I’d like to share a few thoughts about the conference and what’s ahead for PAs, our patients and practice.

First and foremost, the House of Delegates (HOD) made an historic decision that will impact us for years to come. As you likely know by now, they passed Optimal Team Practice (OTP) after the addition of an amendment, which reaffirmed that the degree of collaboration between PAs and physicians be determined at the practice level.

I particularly want to thank the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) for their support as it was critical to the passage of OTP.

I know I’ve said it before but THANK YOU to each and every PA who weighed in on OTP over the last year.

From the work of the Joint Task Force on the Future of PA Practice Authority, led by past president Jeffrey A. Katz, PA-C, DFAAPA, to the thousands of PAs who offered their input by email, phone, social media, the Huddle, and in person, your feedback was critical to helping shape OTP and what is now an exciting foundation from which we will continue to build our profession!

It will not be an easy or quick road to travel. In fact, I’ve gotten a few questions asking if OTP was now official in states! The answer is “no”. Individual state chapters will determine whether or not to pursue OTP and set the pace for change as state legislative and regulatory environments allow.

The OTP policy will be reflected in the Guidelines for State Regulation of PAs. This summer, AAPA will be convening a working group of PAs to begin making modifications to our Model State Legislation, using the Guidelines as a roadmap.

OTP was just one of several resolutions passed by the HOD. Another much-discussed vote by the HOD reaffirmed AAPA’s Board of Directors’ opposition to unsolicited state lobbying by NCCPA. As you are aware, NCCPA has targeted critical PA legislation in West Virginia, New Mexico and Illinois in an effort to create or maintain language that links PA recertification with licensure.

A Summary of Actions undertaken by this year’s HOD will be available on the HOD page in the coming weeks. AAPA’s Policy Manual, incorporating all of the newly passed resolutions, will be available soon as well.

Finally, I also want to direct your attention to the presentation at AAPA 2017, The Future of PA Certification: Information and Feedback, which provided an objective overview of what is involved in creating an independent certifying body. The AAPA Board of Directors will be considering the comments received at the session as they continue to discuss establishing a new certifying body.

They say that life begins at 50. The PA profession has come a long way in 50 years. As we continue to celebrate our 50th Anniversary in 2017, we’ll look forward to an exciting new chapter for our profession.

I thank you for the opportunity to be your leader in this pivotal year. It has truly been a privilege.

Best regards,

Josanne