What Has AAPA Done for PAs Lately?

By L. Gail Curtis, PA-C, MPAS, DFAAPA, President and Chair of the Board, AAPA; and Jennifer L. Dorn, CEO, AAPA

What has AAPA done for PAs lately? It’s a question that we sometimes hear or see posted on social media. With the myriad of things competing for your dollars, from mortgages to college tuition, we’d like to take this opportunity to share how your membership dues are being spent wisely, and providing a great ROI for you and the profession.

We’d like to share some of AAPA’s 2017 accomplishments with you.  These outcomes are, of course, aligned with AAPA’s Strategic Plan, but more importantly, they help PAs in significant and tangible ways. Here are a few of this year’s successes:

Putting PAs at the forefront of patient care on the most critical health issues  

Obesity, diabetes and opioid addiction. These are just a few of the areas where PAs took on increasing responsibility this year. More than 1,700 PAs completed at least one module of AAPA’s free Obesity Leadership Edge Initiative (237 PAs have completed all seven modules!), and more than 800 completed at least one module of Diabetes Leadership Edge.  AAPA secured its largest ever educational grant ($750,000) to support the next phase of the obesity initiative.

Many PAs took advantage of the 2016 federal legislation, for which AAPA was a key advocate, which included PAs among the healthcare providers who are permitted, through a waiver process, to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid addiction. In fact, more than 1,800 PAs have registered for AAPA’s 24-hour buprenorphine training course, and more than 900 PAs have completed it, making them eligible to obtain their waiver and begin prescribing.  We are especially pleased that AAPA was awarded a $250,000 grant to update the training curriculum and offer an in-person training opportunity at AAPA Conference 2018.

Improving the practice environment for PAs

We’ve never been more proud of our profession than in May 2017, when AAPA’s House of Delegates passed Optimal Team Practice. When enacted into state and federal laws, this new policy (which was included as updates to the Guidelines for State Regulation of PAs) will make a profound difference in expanding access to care and aligning the PA profession to meet modern healthcare needs.

While Optimal Team Practice will help us with future PA laws and regulations, states continued to make progress in 2017 with AAPA at their side. Illinois, New Mexico, and West Virginia successfully eliminated “supervisory” language in their PA practice acts and replaced it with “collaboration.”  And, working with AAPA, chapters in four states and the District of Columbia successfully added PAs as rendering providers to their state Medicaid programs which ensures that PAs can bill under their own name and NPI number for medical care the PA provides to Medicaid patients.

At the Federal level, AAPA successfully advocated for a provision that implements competitive pay for PAs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, making PAs eligible to receive “locality pay” as physicians and nurses already do.

And in the workplace, AAPA’s Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management (CHLM) launched its Employer of Excellence (EOE) program to recognize employers who have created a positive work environment for PAs and inspire others to do more. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2018!

Increased awareness of and support for PAs

 With more than two-thirds of American adults now getting at least some of their news on social media (Pew Research Center), AAPA enhanced its social media presence in 2017 to provide more relevant and consistent content. PAs responded with increased comments likes and shares—and followed AAPA on social channels more than ever before! For example, AAPA doubled its Instagram following in 2017.

The PA profession was also prominently featured in the media as one of the best jobs, most promising jobs, and fastest growing jobs in America. And AAPA worked to elevate the presence of PAs in the media, gaining expanded coverage of not only the profession—including recent legislative wins—but also key initiatives like the 2017 AAPA Salary Report and PA Week.

Helping PAs advance their careers

 One of the critical objectives of CHLM is to give PAs leadership training and opportunities. CHLM’s Executive Leadership Conference (ELC), which took place in Arizona this year, hit capacity with 133 attendees. And I’m proud to say that 99 percent of the attendees said they plan to come back in 2018!

We feel sure PAs noticed the improvements to AAPA’s website, which includes enhanced tools and resources to help you advance your careers. The new website was launched in February 2017 and includes Career Central, where PAs can find everything they need to advance their careers, and most recently, News Central, where PAs can find the latest news on what’s going on at AAPA and the PA profession.

Free to AAPA members, the 2017 AAPA Salary Report featured information on several issues of importance to PAs, including a new tool to help PAs account for cost-of-living differences when considering job changes and information about gender-based pay differences. The gender pay disparity was also a topic in December as AAPA recognized Wage PArity Day, the day on which female PAs, in effect, start working for free.

 Making the most of your membership dues

We are also pleased to say that AAPA finished the year on solid financial footing with a positive net operating income from operations, along with significant investment gains in FY17. The prudent management of expenses and revenue, together with sound investment decisions, meant that AAPA net assets also increased.

It’s been an incredible year, and we believe that PAs are well poised for even greater successes in 2018. Thank you so much for your membership and for your support of AAPA. We look forward to celebrating AAPA Member Appreciation Week, February 12-18!