Optimal Team Practice (OTP) is a policy passed by the AAPA House of Delegates in May 2017 that allows its state chapters to seek changes in state laws that will, among other things, eliminate the legal requirement for PAs to have a specific relationship with a particular collaborating physician in order to practice.
PAEA is generally supportive of the policy, but we believe more work needs to be done to determine how OTP might affect new graduates and therefore how PA education might need to change. The PAEA Board of Directors formed a task force to consider these issues, as charged by a motion from the membership at the annual Business Meeting at the 2017 Education Forum in October, and that report will be presented to the membership for the 2019 Business Meeting.
To learn more about AAPA’s position on OTP, visit the OTP page of the AAPA website.
The PAEA-led OTP Impact on Education Task Force, including members from AAPA, NCCPA, ARC-PA, AAMC, and other stakeholders, requests a one-year extension in the task force’s timeline, due to the continuing evolution of OTP as it plays out in the states. The extension is granted by the PAEA membership. The task force will deliver its final report at the 2019 Business Meeting.
PAEA OTP Impact on Education Task Force begins work on charge to “address the implications of OTP for PA education and for new graduates as raised in the 2017 PAEA OTP Task Force Report.”
The American Medical Association House of Delegates passes a resolution (#230) referencing the AAPA HOD’s adoption of Optimal Team Practice and opposing “physician assistant independent practice” and one (#214) “opposing state and national level legislative efforts aimed at inappropriate scope of practice expansion of non-physician healthcare practitioners.”
Implementation of OTP is major topic at the 2017 PAEA Education Forum, with discussion at retreats and a Four Org OTP panel, with chief elected and staff leaders of the four national PA organizations. The Four Org leaders agree to continue discussion of the issue.
The PAEA membership passes a motion charging the Board to “In collaboration with appropriate stakeholders, develop a task force to address the implications of OTP for PA education and for new graduates as raised in the 2017 PAEA OTP Task Force Report and report back to this body by next year with the findings.”
PAEA solicits questions from programs for OTP panel and discussion at retreats.
AAPA establishes the Early Career PA Commission to identify issues faced by new graduates in their transition to practice and to develop resources for them.
AAPA House of Delegates passes a resolution adopting changes to the Guidelines for State Regulation of PAs that allow AAPA state chapters to pursue OTP. PAEA leaders testify against the HOD resolution on OTP, on the grounds that the implications of OTP for PA education have not been adequately considered. “If PA programs are to produce graduates to practice with full practice authority, we will need to educate them differently,” said PAEA President Bill Kohlhepp is his testimony. Following revisions to the resolution in the House, PAEA gives verbal support to the final resolution language.
PAEA releases its OTP Task Force paper, “Optimal Team Practice: The Right Prescription for all PAs?”, which supports three of the four elements of the JTF paper, but not the “elimination of provisions in laws and regulations that require a PA to have and/or report a supervisory, collaborating, or other specific relationship with a physician in order to practice.”
PAEA’s report includes data from surveys of program directors, past presidents, and medical directors, which indicated that more than 85 percent of all groups answered No to the question, “Does your program’s current curriculum already prepare your graduates to practice without ‘a supervisory, collaborating, or other specific relationship with a physician’ in order to practice?”
AAPA releases “Report of the Joint Task Force on the Future of PA Practice Authority,” which reframes the issue as Optimal Team Practice and espouses four key elements:
- Emphasize the PA profession’s continued commitment to team-based practice.
- Support the elimination of provisions in laws and regulations that require a PA to have and/or report a supervisory, collaborating, or other specific relationship with a physician in order to practice.
- Advocate for the establishment of autonomous state boards, with a voting membership comprised of a majority of PAs, to license, regulate, and discipline PAs.
- Ensure that PAs are eligible to be reimbursed directly by public and private insurance.
PAEA forms a Board task force to collect data and consider PAEA’s position on OTP (then called full practice responsibility and responsibility [FPAR]).
AAPA’s Joint Task Force on the Future of PA Practice Authority (JTF) is charged with answering the question: “Should AAPA go beyond its current position that PAs should be able to practice autonomously; and should individual state COs be allowed to pursue full practice authority/full practice responsibility/independent practice for PAs?”