PAs Included in CAMTS Standards for First Time

February 28, 2018

By Abby Boshart

The Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) has included PAs in the 11th edition of its Accreditation Standards— an important revision for emergency medicine and critical care PAs.

These standards outline procedures that medical transportation services should follow to ensure patient safety. PAs have previously been absent from the list of approved crew members, jeopardizing employment for PAs who work in prehospital settings.

Kevin Burns, EMT-P, PA-C, DFAAPA

Kevin Burns, EMT-P, PA-C, DFAAPA, a key player in this revision, is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine. He also serves as an Associate Medical Director for the Yale New Haven Hospital Center for EMS, and is the Co-Director of the Emergency Medicine PA Residency Program at Yale New Haven Hospital.

He is also a member of Board of Directors for The Society of Emergency Medicine Physician Assistants (SEMPA) and became involved with this issue after hearing from an emergency medicine PA who had lost his job. This PA had worked with the flight program at a hospital for several years when his employer decided to pursue CAMTS accreditation and let him go because PAs were not explicitly mentioned in the standards.

“Many services were hesitant to consider a PA for a critical care transport position simply because they were not ‘approved’ in the standards that oversee their profession,” Burns said.

Burns, with the support of the SEMPA Board of Directors, decided to explore the possibility of adding PAs to the CAMTS accreditation standards.

After speaking with other stakeholder organizations, SEMPA submitted a formal written request for the inclusion of PAs in the accreditation standards. After internal discussion, the CAMTS Board invited SEMPA to send a representative to speak at their April 2017 board meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

Burns attended the meeting and presented an overview of PA education and scope of practice. He included examples of critical care transport PAs from around the country, using their experiences to show that PAs should be included in these standards.

“The CAMTS Board was very welcoming of the ideas we brought to the table,” said Burns. The Board agreed to incorporate SEMPA’s requests into the 11th Edition Standards, and the Executive Director even offered to speak with any employers about the role of PAs until the new standards were released in January of 2018.

Thanks to Burns’ efforts, PAs are now listed amongst physicians, paramedics and nurses as approved members for critical care and intensive care transport units.

“By including us in the standards outlining who may lead a team caring for the most critically ill of patients, it will hopefully make it easier for PAs to pursue careers in the prehospital setting,” Burns said.

Are you aware of standards for health care providers that leave out PAs? Burns says that PAs should not be afraid to pursue inclusion of the profession. “By speaking up and ensuring that PAs are recognized in all relevant health care standards, we help to ensure that PAs can work within their full scope of practice without unnecessary restrictions.”

Abby Boshart is AAPA’s communications coordinator. Contact her at [email protected].