PAEA Asks the Critical Question About OTP

By Steven LaneMay 8, 2017


AAPA is proposing a new PA practice model — “optimal team practice” (OTP) — that would eliminate the legal requirement for a PA to have a specific relationship with a collaborating physician. This is not the right prescription for new graduates.

“Optimal team practice,” previously referred to as “full practice authority and responsibility” (FPAR), would have significant implications for new graduates and for PA education. New graduate PAs are currently educated to practice with physician collaboration. We need to slow down and consider all the implications of this dramatic change in our profession.

To learn more, download the PAEA OTP Task Force Report.

6 Reasons OTP Is Not Right For New Graduates

PAEA asked the people who know PA education best what OTP might mean for the profession’s pipeline.
Our surveys of program directors, medical directors, and past presidents indicate that …

1. PA education does not currently prepare graduates for OTP

The vast majority of respondents agreed.

pie chart representing 100% of PAEA Past Presidents

PAEA Past Presidents

pie chart representing 89% of medical directors

Medical Directors

pie chart representing 86% of program directors

Program Directors

2. OTP could increase the length of didactic and clinical education by up to two semesters each

3. Tuition could increase by 25%

4. Diversity could be affected

74% of program directors indicated that increases in tuition and program duration would lead to a decrease in applicant diversity.

5. Programs could consider a clinical doctorate degree

Currently, 3% of programs are considering a doctorate. Under OTP, 53% of programs would consider it.

6. The clinical sites crisis could be made worse: More than 75% of respondents said that current clinical sites could not meet the need for longer clinical training time.


What students think

of newly matriculated students considered the PA-physician relationship “essential” or “very important” in their postgraduate career path.*

What PAs think

of comments that referenced “new graduates” in the AAPA survey expressed concern about OTP for new grads.**

“A PA right out of school cannot be expected to practice autonomously like a physician or a PA with years of practice.”

“Though rigorous, PA school does not prepare a graduate for autonomous practice.”

“PA education is not formatted for us to be ready to safely practice with autonomy.”

“I have concerns related to the readiness of today’s PA graduate for autonomous practice and do not believe it is in the best interest of the patient.”

— Respondents to the AAPA Full Practice Authority and Responsibility Survey

What you can do

Contact your AAPA delegates. Find the list of delegates here.
Find chapter contact information here.

Send your comments to the PAEA Board at

For more information and details, read the full report.

Download report

otp-info-thumbnailDownload and share an infographic summary sheet.

Download sheet

*2016 PAEA Matriculating Student Survey
**2017 AAPA Full Practice Authority and Responsibility Survey Report

Steven Lane
Steven Lane

Steven Lane is senior director, communications, for PAEA. He has worked with the PA profession for much of his career and in October he joined the PAEA staff for the third time.