ADPA POSITION STATEMENTS
PA Scope of Practice
In today’s practice environment, PAs, NPs, and physicians tend to work in group practices or hospital settings. There are currently laws in place that interfere with a practice’s ability to make decisions about care. With the elimination of supervisory requirements and PA-to-physician ratio limitations, employers can better determine how to more effectively manage care for their patients.
In today’s practice, PAs are currently limited to the scope of their supervising physician. This means that patients may not receive care due to regulations that prevent PAs from providing care that they are ready and trained to provide. As PAs are already held to the same practice standards as physicians, eliminating requirements for supervisory agreements with physicians will allow greater care for patients. Additionally, it will allow PAs greater flexibility in providing care for underserved communities, volunteer projects, and disasters.
“Optimal team practice” is generally defined as a PA’s ability to utilize knowledge, skills, and judgment to practice to the full extent of his or her education and training. Thus, it is the position of the Academy of Doctoral PAs that arbitrary barriers to practice be removed and that PAs should be allowed to implement optimal team practice.
The Academy of Doctoral Physician Assistant (ADPA) will works closely with federal and state legislators, regulatory agencies to modernize regulation, to propel the PA profession to meet the demands of the nation’s future healthcare needs.
ADPA will work to educate legislators and key stakeholders to help steer the PA profession towards providing high-quality healthcare, integration in healthcare administration, and promotion of team-based care.
The core effort will align with ADPA’s primary mission and vision, to ensure positive impact for all PAs without limitations.
The ADPA recognizes that initial and continual certification for Physician Assistants is obtained through the National Commission for the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) with the requirements of completion of training at an Accreditation Review Commission for the Education of Physician Assistants ARC-PA) accredited program and does not endorse changing the professional PA certification.
PA Doctoral education is a voluntary decision made by individual PAs who wish to further their education. There are career tracks and personal interests that make obtaining a doctoral degree for an individual a worthwhile endeavor.
The ADPA would like to investigate further collaboration with the National Commission for the Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) for recognition of doctoral education in line with the Certificates of Added Qualifications (CAQ) for additional classification recognition category.
PA Doctorate Title
The title of “Doctor” is earned by completion of a doctorate level program at an institution of higher education. Physicians have fiercely protected the title in clinical settings, however physicians are certainly not the only doctorate level trained professionals providing services to patients. Traditionally the title of Doctor has been used in clinical settings by physicians, MDs and DOs. However, other doctoral level trained professionals also have used the title, i.e., podiatrists, dentists, chiropractors, etc. With doctoral level training expanding to other professional fields, such as physical therapy, pharmacy, occupational therapy, athletic trainers, nurse practitioners, and PAs, etc., it is time to reevaluate the use the title of doctor in a clinical setting.
Many state’s laws and regulations, oversight boards, and institutions have established policies regarding who can use the term doctor in a clinical setting. However, most jurisdictions allow for the use of the title in a clinical setting by non-MD/DOs who have completed a doctoral level educational program if the clinician is clear that they are not presenting themselves to be a physician. Any doctoral trained PA should be aware of the restrictions of use of the title "Doctor" in their own jurisdiction.
With the above considerations, it is the policy of the Academy of Doctoral PAs that the title of "Doctor" should be allowed to be used by any doctoral trained PA in any setting, if the PA is not misrepresenting themselves as a physician.