AAPA President Responds to American Osteopathic Association Press Release

November 1, 2018

William S. Mayo, DO


American Osteopathic Association

142 East Ontario Street

Chicago, IL  60611-2864

Dear Dr. Mayo,

The American Academy of PAs (AAPA) was disappointed to read the American Osteopathic Association’s (AOA) recent press release, which disparages the PA profession and significantly misrepresents our legislative policy initiative.

PAs know physicians are committed to making evidence-based decisions regarding patients’ health. That makes it all the more surprising that AOA would not choose to reference the abundance of research demonstrating that PAs provide high-quality patient care.

We sincerely hope that AOA is simply in need of further clarification on AAPA’s position, and not intentionally misleading the public, when you assert that “The American Academy of Physician Assistants is calling for the elimination of legal requirements for PAs to maintain a collaborative relationship with a physician in order to practice.”

In truth, AAPA’s Guidelines for State Regulation of PAs emphasize PAs’ commitment to team practice and recommend that states adopt legislation that authorizes PAs to practice without an agreement with a specific physician—enabling practice-level decisions about collaboration.

This is the exact position that we articulated to your CEO and advocacy staff at AOA when we travelled to Chicago in September of this year. Hence, we are dismayed to see this mischaracterization of our position and our profession.

AAPA’s common-sense approach removes unnecessary administrative burdens on physicians, employers, and PAs. As more physicians and PAs are practicing in groups, the requirement for PAs to have an agreement with a specific physician is increasingly difficult to manage, and puts all providers involved at risk of disciplinary action for administrative infractions that are unrelated to patient care or outcomes. Most importantly, however, making practice-level decisions about collaboration is best for patients.

PAs have great respect for the depth and breadth of physician training. We value working alongside our physician colleagues, and we recognize that collaboration leads to stronger healthcare teams and better patient care.

On behalf of the entire PA profession, I hope we can find common ground and work together to improve healthcare for the patients that we are all committed to helping.


Jonathan E. Sobel, DMSc, MBA, PA-C, DFAAPA, FAPACVS

President and Chair of the Board

cc:  Adrienne White-Fains, CEO

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