American Academy of PAs Welcomes L. Gail Curtis as President and Chair
Contact: Carrie Munk, 571-319-4477, [email protected]
ALEXANDRIA, VA (July 20, 2017) – L. Gail Curtis, MPAS, PA-C, assumed leadership of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) on July 1. As president and chair of the Board of Directors, Curtis will lead the national professional organization which represents the interests of more than 115,500 PAs (physician assistants) in the United States.
Curtis takes the helm at AAPA at a pivotal time for the profession. AAPA recently passed new policy which, as implemented into state laws and regulations, will enhance the ability of PAs to meet the needs of patients and ensure a strong future for the profession in a changing healthcare marketplace.
“For fifty years PAs have established our profession in the nation’s healthcare system,” said Curtis. “Now we must work together to advance laws and regulations at the state and federal levels to ensure that more patients, especially in rural and medically underserved areas, benefit from the high quality care that PAs can and do provide.”
AAPA’s new policy will support state PA organizations that wish to pursue changes to their respective laws and regulations. These changes will:
- Emphasize PAs’ commitment to team practice with the degree of collaboration determined at the practice level;
- Eliminate legal requirements for PAs to have a specific relationship with a physician in order to practice;
- Create autonomous majority-PA boards to regulate PAs, or give that authority to healing arts or medical boards that have PAs and physicians who practice with PAs as members; and
- Authorize PAs to be directly reimbursed by all public and private insurers.
In addition to helping implement more progressive PA laws and regulations, Curtis’ priorities include documenting and measuring PA value so that PAs are no longer “hidden providers.” Much of the value and quality of care delivered by PAs is not captured in billing records, as services performed by PAs are often billed under the physician’s name with no mechanism to identify the PAs care. PAs must be able to document and measure their contributions to a practice and to quality patient outcomes. This data is critical to identifying and acknowledging the true value PAs provide to patients.
Curtis is also intent on identifying alternatives to high-stakes recertification testing. AAPA recently announced its plan to collaborate with a highly respected, unbiased, independent research organization to identify evidence-based alternatives to high stakes PA recertification testing–solutions that align with best practices in other medical professions. She will also continue to work to repeal state laws and regulations that tie current PA certification to license renewal. Curtis is also a champion for pay equity for female PAs and for AAPA’s Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management (CHLM) which works with employers and healthcare systems across the country to improve their policies and utilization of PAs.
Curtis practiced clinically for more than 35 years in a variety of specialties, including ENT, family medicine and weight management. She is currently a PA educator and serves as chair of the department of PA Studies and associate professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in the Department of PA Studies. She helped write North Carolina’s current PA practice regulations and PA peer review legislation while serving on the North Carolina Medical Board’s PA Advisory Committee. She has written numerous articles and book chapters, and has presented on topics including PA professional regulations, otolaryngology, substance use disorder, and weight management.
An active AAPA Distinguished Fellow, Curtis has held a variety of leadership positions, including three years as vice president of AAPA’s Board of Directors and speaker of AAPA’s House of Delegates. She has served on the nominating working group, and on the board’s executive, finance, external affairs and executive compensation committees, plus the awards and clinical rotations task forces. Curtis also is an active member and past president of the North Carolina Academy of PAs. She received the North Carolina Academy of PAs Outstanding Service Award and was named North Carolina PA of the Year in 2013. In addition, she has served on the editorial boards for the Journal of the American Academy of PAs (JAAPA) and the North Carolina Medical Society Journal.
Curtis holds a bachelor’s degree from University of North Carolina-Wilmington and received a PA certificate from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine PA Program. Her master’s degree in PA studies is from the University of Nebraska.
About the American Academy of PAs
AAPA is the national organization that advocates for all PAs and provides tools to improve PA practice and patient care. Founded in 1968, AAPA represents a profession of more than 115,500 PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories and the uniformed services. Visit www.aapa.org to learn more.