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PAFT Autonomy Task force announcement

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PAFT Creates Task Force on Autonomy

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.


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