AAPA Speaks to New York Times Editor About Upcoming PA Story

February 12, 2018

AAPA officials spoke to an editor of the New York Times to express concern that an upcoming article would be unfair to the PA profession.

AAPA reiterated that an article about PAs in Dermatology that appeared in the Times last November was misleading and one-sided. When that article was released, AAPA responded with the Society for Dermatology PAs in this letter to the editor. The journalist who wrote the November article contacted AAPA about a new story she is writing about the rise of the PA profession.

In a recent telephone conversation, AAPA told the reporter’s editor that they are worried that mischaracterizations of PAs will be repeated in the new article. AAPA’s aim was to provide the editor with facts and context so that the new article does not malign the PA profession.

AAPA also explained its new policy, Optimal Team Practice. AAPA officials emphasized the profession’s commitment to team-based practice while also seeking authorization in state laws and regulations for PAs to practice without an agreement with a specific physician.

AAPA underscored that decisions about collaboration among physicians and PAs are best made at the practice level. They noted that PAs already operate with great autonomy, some more than others and that this autonomy is determined by the PAs’ education and experience, state law, policies of employers and facilities, and the needs of their patients.

Furthermore, AAPA said PAs have long believed that the best medicine is practiced in teams and that the proposed changes to laws and regulations will not change the physicians’ role, the PAs’ role or how physicians and PAs work together. PAs value sustained partnerships with physicians, have great respect for the depth of physician training and rely on the PA/physician team in clinical practice.

Finally, AAPA conveyed to the editor that, with or without an agreement with a specific physician, every PA is legally and ethically obligated to consult with and refer patients to physicians based on patients’ condition, the standard of care, and the PA’s education and experience.  PAs will be subject to disciplinary action by state medical boards, just as any other medical provider would be, if they run afoul of these obligations. These requirements will not change with the removal of a paperwork requirement between a PA and a specific physician.

We do not know if or when the new story will be published. AAPA will continue to keep you updated as we learn more. For questions, please contact Carrie Munk, AAPA vice president of communications, [email protected].