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Dr. Frank Crosby, DHSc, PA-C, President

Dr. Eric Holden, DHSc, PA-C, Immediate Past President     Katie Dore, PA-C, Vice-President

Daniel Hemple, PA-C, Treasurer               Nichole Bateman, MPAS, PA-C, Secretary

Brian Sady, MMSc, PA-C, Director-at-Large            Kris Pyles-Street, PA-C, Director-at-Large

Dr. Roger Jones, DHSc, PA-C, Director-at-Large      Todd Kielman, MPAS, PA-C, Director-at-Large

Tessa Roulston, PA-S, Student Representative      Crystal Barksdale, Student Representative

This letter recommends removing the ARC-PA requirement of having a Medical Director, and adds the requirement of having only an NCCPA certified PA as a PA Program Director. According to the ARC-PA standard A2.11, a Medical Director is required for each PA program:

A2.11 The medical director must be:

a) a currently licensed allopathic or osteopathic physician and

b) certified by an ABMS- or AOA-approved specialty board.

A2.12 The medical director must be an active participant in the program.

ANNOTATION: The medical director supports the program director in insuring that both didactic instruction and supervised clinical practice experiences meet current practice standards as they relate to the PA role in providing patient care. The medical director may be actively involved in developing the mission statement for the program; providing instruction; evaluating student performance; designing, implementing, coordinating and evaluating curriculum and evaluating the program (ARC-PA, 2016).

            Per ARC-PA standards, the Medical Director’s duty is to insure that the program is following current practice standards. Physicians are not taught to be full time educators, and they are not taught to be full time educators of physician assistants. PA faculty are required to be familiar with the ARC-PA accreditation standards, and to make sure the program is consistently meeting those standards.

            In general, physicians are not familiar with the ARC-PA, their standards, or how to meet them. The ARC-PA requirement to have a medical director infers that PA faculty are not responsible and talented educators who understand PA student’s needs. This mandatory requirement further infers that physicians somehow understand how PAs should be educated better than PAs themselves.  

This requirement also causes unnecessary financial burdens for both universities and PA students. Program directors must budget for their programs annually. Medical directors’ salaries are paid for by PA student’s tuition. If the budget for the program can be lowered, this cost savings could be passed onto the students.    

The PA profession has matured into a profession that is responsible for its education and clinical practice. Medical school accrediting bodies state that their dean must be a physician. Other medical professions also have protections for their professions built into their standards. PAFT is requesting that ARC-PA also change standard A2.06 to mandate that the director position of a PA program must be filled by a physician assistant. PA educators understand PA education and program needs better then physicians. PAs are not allowed to be deans or directors of medical schools. Physicians should not be allowed to be directors of PA education.

PAFT understands that programs should be given time to accomplish these changes. Programs that presently have physicians who are directors could be grandfathered, and when the physician leaves the program, a PA would be hired as director. We believe this course of action is reasonable and would not cause disruption at the program level.

ARC-PA. (2016). Standards of accreditation 4th edition. Retrieved from: http://www.arc-pa.org/accreditation/standards-of-accreditation/

Thank you and the entire ARC-PA board for considering this.

 

Frank

 

On behalf of the BoD of PAFT
Dr. Frank Crosby, DHSc, PA-C
President, PAs for Tomorrow

 


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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