Report from the 2017 AAPA House of Delegates
Jason Prevelige, MHS, PA-C
The 2017 AAPA House of Delegates was held this past May 16-18 in Las Vegas Nevada. The primary purpose of the House of Delegates is to be the policy making component of the AAPA. Each Constituent Organization, Caucus and Specialty Group has at least one delegate, and is apportioned more depending on how many Fellow Members of the AAPA the group has. 415 delegates gathered to discuss, debate and come to consensus on some of the most important issues facing PAs today. Many of the topics discussed were routine policy issues that needed updating, sun-setting, etc. There were three issues in particular that garnered much debate and discussion. One of those issues was immigration, which ultimately reaffirmed that all people are entitled to healthcare, regardless of their background or citizenship.
The second hot issue was in regard to the NCCPA, concerning both lobbying activities by the NCCPA and CME requirements for recertification. Ultimately, after much discussion, it was simply decided that the AAPA disapproves of all unsolicited lobbying activity by the NCCPA. For those not aware, this is in direct response to NCCPA lobbying and interference in at least four states to this point. The second NCCPA issue discussed was a bit confusing and had to do with CME requirements for recertification and initial certification of PAs. Ultimately it was not approved by the House as it was not clear, seemed inappropriate for the House to implement policy on and AAPA already has policy regarding CME for certification.
The last issue worth mentioning is Optimal Team Practice. Most of you have probably heard something about this already. There have been a lot half-truths, premature information publication and emotional discussion regarding OTP over the last several months. Ultimately, the House unanimously passed the inclusion of Optimal Team Practice into the AAPA State Model Legislation. The core principle of OTP is “Practice with access to physicians and other qualified medical professionals for collaboration, consultation and referral, as indicated by the patient’s condition and the standard of care, and in accordance with the PA’s education, training and experience.”
There were essentially four areas that the Task Force suggested change. The first three of those included emphasizing the PA commitment to team practice, advocate for autonomous state PA boards with a majority of PA voting members to determine regulation, licensure and discipline, and ensuring that PAs are eligible to be directly reimbursed by private and public insurance. Those areas were generally not contested by any of the delegates. The fourth area, which was in regard to our relationships with physicians was hotly debated. There were many viewpoints in the room, from all around the country. Each delegate spoke to what was currently important in their legislative environment. Ultimately, as it became apparent that PAs and their practice environment could suffer on both sides of the aisle, the language was amended. The amended language was unanimously supported throughout the House and calls for the elimination of supervisory barriers that will impede practice by PAs, while still protecting the practice level determination of scope.
Many have felt that OTP (or FPAR as it was previously known) is an immediate path to change. The House of Delegates only affirmed that OTP is important to our profession and there is no regulatory change as a result. Please remember that change is not quick, nor easy. Change takes a lot of work, and we need members to support the work of ConnAPA. So please renew, join, or bring in your colleagues that are not members. $125 a year is a small amount to invest in protecting and fighting for your career.
Connecticut is not an easy state in which to enact change and we need your help. If you receive a last-minute request to contact a legislator, please do so and please be willing to help, as it will only benefit you.
The Connecticut Delegation (L to R): ConnAPA President Jason Prevelige, Vice President Deanna Zimkus and Board Member Mick Devanney. Not pictured, Treasurer, Sarah Clark.
William Kohlhepp, ConnAPA Past President, AAPA Past President, and Current PAEA President testifying on Optimal Team Practice