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National Task Force on PA Autonomy

PAFT member Brian Sady, PA-C, MMSc approached your board of directors asking us to support and coordinate a National Task Force on PA Autonomy.  Mr. Sady is the author of an editorial published in Clinican Reviews, entitled Autonomy Now! Why PAs, Like NPs, Need Full Practice Authority.

PA Sady outlined a plan to your board, and in November 2015 the board voted unanimously to coordinate a National Task Force on PA Autonomy.

Call for Autonomy Task Force Members

Nichole Bateman-Satterwhite, PA-C, President PAFT

Brian Sady, PA-C, Task Force Committee Chair

PAs for Tomorrow has been an organization committed to the future of the PA profession.  Since our inception, PAFT has sought to create real change in a profession that has grown far beyond original expectations.  The Board of Directors remains committed to those original ideas that prompted many of you to join us in those efforts.  We sincerely thank you for that and are excited to make a direction changing announcement that continues to shape our future. 

 

As we approach a new era in healthcare, the PA profession truly stands at a crossroads.  While we embrace our history, we must also embrace a future that will require our profession to expand to a new and exciting chapter.  The PAFT Board of Directors has been approached to develop a national PA autonomy task force.  The intent is to create a representative body that will serve to coordinate information among those in our profession who see autonomous practice as an evolving reality for our profession.  Further, a national task force could help streamline strategies for promoting and advocating for autonomous PA practice in each state, where legislative change must eventually happen.  A coordinated effort and a central communication hub for exchange of ideas, strategic planning and directional development of this movement would benefit the entire autonomy effort. 

 

Autonomy is not a new concept to organized medicine regarding other advanced providers, but it has not historically been a PA driven or applied idea.  The working definition of autonomy for the purposes of task force development include incorporating the concept of optional autonomy for experienced PAs in primary care, i.e. no supervisory or collaborative language in state statute.  State statute, federal law and institutional policy should reflect what PAs do in the delivery of healthcare and should be responsive and reactive to the needs of patients and the health care system.  There should also be flexibility for the well trained professionals they govern.  A great many PAs already practice medicine autonomously with very little supervision.  The law should accurately reflect what PAs already do, particularly when some of the language that governs PA practice is no longer functional or useful in how care is delivered in modern day medicine.  To be clear, the intent of autonomy is not to sever or separate the PA/physician relationship.  To the contrary, the intent is to legally reflect how we already deliver care with the variety of professionals we are trained to work alongside on the medical team. 

 

There are many legalities to supervision language that have become limiting to PAs rather than enhancing the delivery of care.  To offer insight into the basis for this endeavor, please refer to PAFT’s most recent position statement, “PAs in Primary Care.”  Links to that document as well as a white paper authored by Brian Sady, MMSc, MPAS, PA-C from Nevada titled “Optional Autonomy for Experienced PAs in Nevada” are attached to this correspondence.  Other PAs across the nation have authored publications supportive of PA autonomy in recent years suggesting there is a growing professional body of PAs who would like to explore how autonomous PA practice can be developed and applied for the benefit of the patients we serve as well as to PAs professionally. 

 

Please consider this communication a formal invitation to submit a cover letter and curriculum vitae to the PAFT Board of Directors and the co-chair, Mr. Sady.  The initial task force will be comprised PAFT members who will be charged with developing the framework, goals and strategic direction as well as the name of the task force.  Thereafter, a national call to other pro-autonomy professionals - PAs, physicians, NPs, AAPA reps, military and VA reps, legislators and others - will be made to further enhance the commitment of the core task force members.  The inclusion of other professionals seeks to expand the skill sets necessary for the ultimate success of this cause.  We cannot do this alone and would be remiss to try.

 

There are a great many PAs across the nation who have the vision, the enthusiasm and the optimism for seeking autonomous practice but lack the directional design of how to implement it to reality.  The vision for the task force will start with PAFT members as it will initially be a sub-committee of the PAFT organization.  Such an effort should be led by progressive, forward thinking PAs who have a vested interested in success.  We believe many PAFT members embody those things. 

 

If you are a pro-autonomy PA with the interest and desire to commit to active involvement, please submit a letter of intent addressing the following questions: 

 

  1. Why are you are pro PA autonomy?

  2. What experiences you can bring to the task force to help make PA autonomy a reality?

  3. What are your thoughts about working with other professions on the task force including pharmacists, physicians, NPs and citizen advocacy group representatives among others?

  4. Share an experience as a PA that convinced you that PA autonomy was necessary for the profession

  5. Do you hold an active state license as a PA and if so, which state(s)?

     

    In addition to the letter of intent addressing the above questions, please include a current CV by January 1, 2016 to papathway@gmail.com. 

     

    Best regards,

     

    Nichole Bateman, MPAS, PA-C

    President, PAFT

    Task Force Co-Chair

     

    Brian Sady, MMSc, MPAS, PA-C

    Task Force Co-Chair


PAFT Creates Task Force on Autonomy

Nichole Bateman-Satterwhite, PA-C, President PAFT

PAs for Tomorrow (PAFT), a national advocacy organization focused on the future of the PA profession, announces that their Board of Directors has unanimously voted to develop a national task force focused on PA practice autonomy. Nichole Bateman, PAFT President, says “The task force is intended to create a representative body of PAs and other professionals to coordinate information and strategize efforts among those who see autonomous practice as an evolving reality for the PA profession. The time to explore how autonomy can and should apply to PA practice is now.” 


Brian Sady, MMSc, MPAS, PA-C, author of the white paper “Optional Autonomy for Experienced PAs in Primary Care in Nevada” approached the PAFT board of directors with the task force concept. He found that there are extensive autonomy efforts by other PAs across the nation. According to Mr. Sady, “In seeking information and research, I encountered a great many of my PA peers who are doing similar research and have similar ideas, but have no way to coordinate those efforts and develop the concept. I found that when I discussed the idea of optional autonomy using specific verbiage that would allow experienced PAs in primary care to be fully autonomous OR keep a collaborative agreement, PAs were very enthusiastic.” 


The working definition of autonomy for the purposes of task force development includes incorporating the concept of OPTIONAL autonomy for experienced PAs in primary care, i.e. no supervisory or collaborative language in state statutes for PAs with solid clinical experience. The autonomy concept is not new to organized medicine but has not historically been applied to PAs. The intent of PA autonomy is not to sever or separate the historic PA/Physician relationship. The intent is to better reflect how PAs deliver care in the healthcare environment of today – which is, in many settings, already very autonomous with little physician oversight in the real life delivery of high quality, safe care. 
PA practice of medicine has evolved and advanced significantly since the creation of the profession nearly 50 years ago. Despite diligent efforts by PAs across the nation, supervision language and concepts that govern PA practice in many states have not kept pace. In many states, antiquated supervision language is no longer reflective of how PAs deliver care in modern healthcare systems and has become a hindrance for PA practice. 


Federal laws, state statutes and individual institutional policies should reflect what PAs actually do in the delivery of healthcare. Most importantly, those laws and policies should be responsive and reactive to increase rather than restrict access to medical services for patients. PA education is standardized to produce well-trained professionals who practice medicine. The modern PA is a proven “value added” member of the healthcare team. Removing restrictive supervision language will increase access to quality care and lower costs. 


Though the creation of the task force will be initially under the helm of the PAFT organization, the greater vision includes involvement of key individuals, organizations and representative bodies.  Invitation to leadership in the AAPA, AFPPA, military branch and VA PAs, state constituent organizations, PA Student Academy as well as individual pro-autonomy PAs will only strengthen the development and directional design of the task force.  


PAs for Tomorrow is a  professional organization for all PAs of all specialties.  It represents the future interests of all PAs, providing a vocal core group of PAs committed to seeing the PA profession reach its deserved place among America's health care providers and advocating for their role as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive and patient-centered health care. 

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