PAFT Response to 
Clinical Advisor Editorial

January, 2017

PAs for Tomorrow (PAFT) is a PA advocacy organization focused on the future of the PA profession.  Jim Anderson’s recent editorial titled “The future of PA practice authority,” critiques the collective efforts of PAs for Tomorrow (PAFT) and the AAPA in moving forward with this concept.  PAFT Board leadership felt it important to clarify some of Mr. Anderson’s statements about this effort.

PAFT has advocated for the PA profession on multiple fronts.  We utilize our platform to communicate with a great many grassroots PAs as well as PA leaders across the nation.  The movement for Full PA Practice Responsibility (FPAR) has come forward not because a small organization or a select few leaders within the AAPA believe it necessary.  FPAR has come to the forefront because it is necessary for qualified and well-trained PAs across the nation to remain agile in the healthcare industry.  

In the interest of practical application to the clinically practicing PA, there are a few key points worth clarifying.  Among many things, FPAR reassesses how and by whom we are regulated and inquires whether current laws accurately reflect how PAs deliver care.  FPAR suggests that PAs be functionally overseen by majority PA boards, rather than a token PA member on a state BOM who has little impact on board direction.  FPAR recognizes that a PA’s employability should not be legally dependent on another professional and that our solvency as a profession should not lie in administrative or physician perception (real or perceived) of who’s more “work” – a PA or a NP.  What FPAR does NOT do is cleave the PA from the physician or the healthcare team.   

FPAR also acknowledges that the traditional PA/physician relationship of our roots is already fundamentally changed – not by PA or physician decision but by industry evolution.  A majority of physicians and PAs are employed by healthcare organizations and will be for the foreseeable future.  This has intrinsically altered the traditional PA/Physician relationship, yet PAs and physicians still function together as we always have.  FPAR simply acknowledges this reality.  Physicians are busy and their practice of medicine has dramatically shifted as well.  They are struggling to define their own future, just as are PAs.   They need not be burdened with unnecessary regulatory tasks that don’t benefit patient care, safety or access.  Neither do PAs.  FPAR suggests maintaining what works, eliminating what doesn’t and redefining what is necessary to accurately reflect how PAs practice medicine within the team model of today.

This is a pivotal time in the healthcare industry and PAs must evolve as well.  Utilization of PAs has expanded beyond what our founders and early colleagues would have imagined 50 years ago.  Despite this, laws and regulatory oversight for the PA profession have largely remained unchanged.  If we are to remain the nimble, responsive profession we were originally developed to be, PAFT recognizes that it is simply necessary that language, laws and regulatory oversight accurately reflect how PAs already deliver care today.  PAFT also believes that the PA profession should be guiding the direction of the PA profession.  While there is much respect for our historical PA/physician roots, PAFT embraces the challenge of an evolving healthcare industry that demands change and are excited to move forward with the AAPA and grassroots PAs across the nation in this effort – it’s time. 


PAFT Board of Directors

Approved by the Board of PAFT

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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