New AMA Policy Opposes Autonomous State PA Boards

June 14, 2017

At the annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) held June 9-14, delegates passed a resolution opposing autonomous state PA boards. This resolution was introduced following AAPA’s House of Delegates approval of Optimal Team Practice (OTP) last month.

OTP reemphasizes the PA profession’s commitment to team-based care and reaffirms that the degree of collaboration between PAs and physicians should be determined at the practice level. It also, among other things, 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. PAs are currently regulated by separate PA boards in Arizona, Iowa, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Utah and by semi-autonomous boards in California and Texas. PAs serve as medical board members in 19 states.

“The PA profession has established itself with fifty years of quality care,” said Josanne Pagel, MPAS, PA-C. “PAs should have the ability to have meaningful participation in the regulation of our profession just as physicians and nurses do.”

The AMA Resolution 233 was sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association, American College of Mohs Surgery, American Society of Dermatopathology, Society for Investigative Dermatology, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the Wisconsin Delegation.

An amendment offered by the Georgia delegation on the House floor called on the AMA to recommend similar regulation of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). The amendment stated: “AMA will adopt policy that APRNs are subject to the jurisdiction of state medical licensing and regulatory boards for the regulation and discipline of APRNs in their performance of medical acts and that AMA will develop model state legislation in support of states to accomplish this policy.” This amendment was referred for decision, meaning that it is sent to the AMA’s Board of Trustees for action.

AAPA liaisons Mary Ettari, MPH, PA, and Steve Hanson, MPA, PA-C, attended the AMA meeting as AAPA’s official observers, along with Ann Davis, MS, PA-C, AAPA vice president of constituent organization outreach and advocacy. No other policy impacting PA practice was adopted.

AAPA will continue to liaise with AMA and with all medical organizations as it moves to implement OTP. For more information, please contact [email protected].