PAs Vote to Advance Profession to Meet Modern Healthcare Needs

2017 Marks 50th Anniversary of PA Profession

Contact: Carrie Munk, 571-319-4477, [email protected]

LAS VEGAS (May 18, 2017) — At the annual conference of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA), members of its House of Delegates approved Optimal Team Practice, a new policy intended to enhance the ability of PAs to meet the needs of patients and ensure the future of the profession in a changing healthcare marketplace. This historic action comes during the 50thanniversary of the PA Profession, which was initially created to improve and expand healthcare.

PAs are state licensed medical providers who conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, write prescriptions and perform medical procedures in nearly every practice setting and medical specialty.

“Passage of this new policy serves as a significant milestone for PAs,” said President and Chair of AAPA Josanne Pagel, MPAS, PA-C. “While Optimal Team Practice may take some time to fully implement in all fifty states and U.S. territories, it will most certainly enhance the profession’s ability to help patients, especially in rural and underserved areas, and reduce administrative burdens on physicians.”

Optimal Team Practice reemphasizes the PA profession’s commitment to team-based care, and in an amendment offered on the floor of the House of Delegates, reaffirms that the degree of collaboration between PAs and physicians should be determined at the practice level. It also supports the removal of state laws and regulations that require a PA to have and/or report a supervisory, collaborating or other specific relationship with a physician in order to practice. In addition, the new policy advocates for the establishment of autonomous state boards with a majority of PAs as voting members to license, regulate and discipline PAs, or for PAs to be full voting members of medical boards. Finally, the policy says that that PAs should be eligible to be reimbursed directly by public and private insurance for the care they provide.

With the addition of the amendment that reaffirms that the degree of collaboration between PAs and physicians should be determined at the practice level, the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) offered its support.

Each state PA chapter can pursue the changes to state laws and regulations at its own pace and as the situation in each respective state allows. Optimal Team Practice resembles, but is not the same as, full practice authority, which nurse practitioners have been pursuing and have achieved in 22 states and Washington, D.C. The primary difference is the PA profession’s commitment to team based practice. PAs would continue to collaborate with physicians and other qualified medical professionals as dictated by the patient’s condition and the standard of care, and in accordance with each PA’s education, training and experience.

Pagel said the time was right to pursue these kinds of changes for PAs. “This new policy gives PAs the foundation on which to pursue legislative or regulatory changes that will enhance the profession’s ability to meet our nation’s healthcare needs.”

A list of frequently asked questions can be found on AAPA’s website here:

For more information, please contact Carrie Munk, AAPA vice president of communications, at [email protected], (571) 319-3047.