We Asked: Is the AMA's Opposition to PA Boards Out of Line?

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In our previous edition of Buzz, we shared that the American Medical Association (AMA) is opposed to autonomous regulatory boards for PAs, one component of Optimal Team Practice (OTP). Then we asked if you think their stance is out of line. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of respondents expressed outrage or disappointment with the news. “Being held to the same standards of care and training but being restricted in practice makes no sense,” wrote one PA in response to our call for comments. Another PA, however, replied that she “cannot say it is out of line, but it was expected.”

Read on to see more comments on this subject from your colleagues.



Is the AMA's opposition to PA Boards out of line?

◉ Two words: power trip.

◉ We, as PAs, are missing opportunities to help our communities by the constraints imposed 50 years ago. An NP friend of mine recently started her own business, as a sole practitioner, doing DOT physicals. There is a need for this population but we don't have the opportunity to do this on our own time, away from the clinic setting. These restrictions are hindering our growth and our level of trust among patients. I have, what I consider, great ideas for the future of medicine but without autonomy, they will remain ideas.

◉ Of course it's out of line. The nursing lobby is making huge strides and starting to make us providers that are viewed on a lower level than themselves and also making us look a bit old fashioned. The AMA wants to do anything to protect their turf although they hide behind the statement that they are there to protect the public. In the case of PAs we are there FOR the publics health care access.

◉ It doesn't make sense for nurse practitioners to have certain rights in this area and physician assistants to be looked at as if these changes would put patients in harms way. Why is it allowed in a field trainer under the model of a nurse but not in a field trained under the model of a doctor.

◉ The AMA's opposition to the PA Boards is definitely out of line. They are protecting their "turf", but at the same time displaying hypocritical actions as they hire Nurse Practitioners who do exactly what they oppose for PA's. I would like to hear their argument to support their stance, especially when they support and hire NP's. I think it boils down to who they have the ability to control and regulate; they cannot control and regulate the NP's but will not let go of a group of medical professionals clearly as qualified: the PA's.

◉ It appears that the AMA is unhappy with the liberties that have been granted to the NPs and their own failure to prevent this from happening. The PAs are feeling the effects of this. Since the AMA was unable to stop the nurses, they are rallying to stop the PAs. The sad truth is that the majority of PAs are not against the doctors but rather have supported them for many years.

◉ Iowa has it's own, independent PA Board, and it has functioned very well to serve both the PAs of Iowa and support of excellent patient care by PAs in Iowa, (irrespective of the IMS). When a profession sees itself as "owning" another, that is not good, and usually places those subjugates in a very precarious position, as has been seen in the past when Medical Boards have acted on PA concerns. and when disciplining PA/physician practices.

There is no question that physicians, PAs, nurses, pharmacists, and others make up the team, and it goes without saying that each one is a practice within itself. With that in mind, there is no reason that PAs should not also have their own board to govern their problems.

We are Physician Assistants, not Physician's Assistants.

◉ Absolutely they are out of line. As PAs we are highly trained in the medical model, unlike NPs who trained in the nursing model, for primary care. Primary care is where the shortfall is in health care access. Unlike NPs we are required to re-certify every 10 years to maintain certification and our medical license. Yet we are not allowed to practice primary care autonomously. This is nothing more than a ploy by the AMA to keep our profession from expanding into a much needed area of health care as NPs have been allowed to. It is their way of continuing to maintain control. Recently I injured my back. To get a referral to a neurosurgeon, I need to get into my PCP first. No APPs in the office there. I can get in to be seen in 3 weeks. This is unacceptable. We need expanded access for everyone be. We need a stronger advocacy group to lobby for our right to practice autonomously. What the AMA wants is to maintain control over our profession. They fear we will take work from them. What they fail to realize is that expansion of our practice will come the expansion of much needed access for everyone lessening the overall burden for physicians who cannot get their patients in to be seen in a timely manner.

◉ Absolutely out of line. Nurse Practitioners take their boards once( not every 6 or 10 years), are less educated and work unsupervised. They are nurses with a their education following the nursing model. PAs follow the medical model. The AMA wants to restricts PAs for what reason? It certainly isn't because our competence.

◉ Our community has evolved over the past 50 years yet we have chosen to remain attached to the traditional title of physician assistant. Many state laws continue to list us as "physician's assistants". When physicians are able to successfully lobby against OTP, it will bring no surprise. To the layman and politician, the PA is still owned by physicians therefore why shouldn't they have the final word.

◉ I cannot say it is out of line, but it was expected.... We have always worked with Physicians, and it may be to our advantage to have an increased presence on state medical boards w/o specifically having our own....Possibly consider collaboration first then eventually work our way up to own boards....

◉ Only because they seem to be ok with nurse practitioners (who have less training in some aspects) having full practice authority. They cannot pick and choose who has full practice authority. It should be all or none.



Read more in This Week's Buzz for PAs.

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