This article originally appeared in the May 2015 edition of PA Professional magazine.
When the U.S. Senate passed the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (HR 2) on April 14, sending the historic bipartisan bill to President Obama to sign, it represented a sizable victory for PAs and our patients. Indeed, this legislation represents the most significant Medicare reform in decades.
Medicare’s troubled physician payment formula is history, and PAs now have payment certainty. The vital role we have always played in healthcare delivery is increasingly being recognized—and we’re accomplishing this together.
Together, through the dedicated efforts of PAs, constituent
organizations and AAPA, we have eliminated an unprecedented
number of barriers to PA practice. In 2014, our collective
work resulted in 184 PA-positive improvements to laws and regulations in 49 states and the District of Columbia—no small feat. Our collective momentum that began in 2013 gained speed in 2014, and is continuing into 2015.
Together, we have seen inspiring results from a recent Harris Poll survey, commissioned by AAPA, showing the nation that PAs are trusted healthcare providers who improve patient access to care. We’ve seen Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and The New York Times tout our profession as one of the best healthcare jobs, and praise PAs as one of the single most, sought-after healthcare providers in the country. We’ve seen demand for PAs rise by more than 300 percent in the last three years. And, the National Governors Association encouraged all states to allow PAs to practice to the fullest extent of their experience and education. This growing recognition matters.
Together we aggressively moved away from the term “assistant,” using “PA” instead. We made sure that our audiences—the media, legislators, employers, physicians, patients and the public—know exactly what a PA is, what PAs do and why that’s making the defining difference in healthcare today.
We will continue to rise to the challenge of practicing medicine in this rapidly changing healthcare landscape. These are disruptive yet exciting times for PAs. We continue to thrive amidst this upheaval because we are stronger together.
Whether I see you in a few weeks at AAPA Conference 2015 in San Francisco, or we’ve only connected through these letters in PA Professional, I’d like to thank you for the hard work you do every day in your practice, clinical rotation or classroom. It has been my honor and privilege to serve as your president, and I’ve never been prouder to be a PA.
John G. McGinnity, MS, PA-C, DFAAPA, is president of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.