AAPA’S USHCS Perspectives
The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) was founded in 1968 as the national professional society for physician assistants. The PA profession that it represents constitutes of more than 100,000 physician assistants, drawn from all surgical and medical specialties across 50 American states, the greater proportion of US territories, the District of Columbia, and the uniformed services. The primary function of AAPA is to educate and advocate on behalf of the profession, as well as patients served by the physician assistants (AAPA, n.d.). The current essay will discuss the AAPA in depth, including its intended outcomes, perspectives on the US health care system, as well as its leadership and the potential to impact the health care system.
AAPA strives to ensure that the PAs achieve professional growth, recognition, and personal excellence. The society improves physician assistants’ ability to enhance the accessibility, quality, and cost-effectiveness of healthcare that is characteristically centered on the patient. On the one hand, the key healthcare issue that the AAPA is influencing is summarized in its vision, which is “transforming health through patient-centered, team-based medical practice” (AAPA, n.d.). On the other hand, the impact of the issue and gains that members stand to make if the outcome is achieved can be found in the association’s 2016-2020 strategic plan. Firstly, PAs will be equipped for expanded health care opportunities. Under this objective, the PAs’ flexibility to make transitions in the medical career will be maintained, whereas the pathways through which they can develop and demonstrate competence will be increased and their access will be improved. Professional offerings will also be expanded and more emphasis will be placed on the competencies in leadership and management. PAs’ inclusion in the health care system will be promoted and the professionals will be encouraged to take part in professional and workplace committees, state regulatory agencies, and decision-making bodies (AAPA, n.d.).
The other impact is the advancement of the PA identity. Here, PAs will be enrolled providers and they will be able to forward claims under their NPI and name, so as to build the documentation that is required to demonstrate the value of PA. The skills, held by the Pas, will also be recognized by employers, health care providers, policy-makers, opinion and thought leaders, as well as the media. The same will apply to their contributions towards health care (AAPA, n.d.). The third desired impact is the creation of a progressive work environment for physician assistants. This will encompass both the regulatory and statutory environments for the profession’s practice. Workplace-imposed PA practice barriers will be eliminated and a PA-positive environment will be fostered. Legal strategies for the protection and expansion of the PA practice will be put in place (AAPA, n.d.).
Fourthly, effectiveness and sustainability of the association will be achieved. This will include strengthening and increasing of the engagement of PAs and clinical officers in the association’s work. They will also be engaged in the financial support of the organization through such aspects as membership, products, and conferences. The capacity of the organization will be improved, together with its financial sustainability (AAPA, n.d.).
AAPA’s perspective on the healthcare provider can be derived from its stance on the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). AAPA is of the view that the ACA will affect PAs in several ways through its provisions. Firstly, there are numerous provisions under the law that seek to expand the health insurance coverage, as a result of which it is expected that up to millions of more Americans will become insured. This number is projected to continue increasing in future. According to AAPA, whereas it is beneficial to the persons and the society, as a whole, to have expanded health insurance coverage, it is an issue of concern that the nation is currently experiencing a PA shortage. The demands placed on them in terms of attending to this new wave of consumers are likely to increase and they will face even higher expectations (AAPA, n.d.).
The new payment models also developed under the ACA will also affect PAs. These models include patient-centered medical homes and the accountable care organizations; they heavily focus on care coordination. Notably, the AAPA holds that PAs will play a greater role in this coordination, especially with the current trend in which the healthcare workforce is increasingly adopting a team-oriented care provision approach. PAs are also set to benefit from the new primary care incentives, implemented under the ACA. Medicare will provide a 10% bonus to some of the services, offered by primary care providers, and these include the PA (AAPA, n.d.). Also, following the implementation of the ACA, the PA profession will be recognized as a crucial component of the solution to the shortage of primary care. This will occur through the professionals’ recognition as amongst the three providers of primary health care. Similarly, the number of PAs is expected to increase as the ACA commits to provide financial support in the form of scholarships and implementing the loan forgiveness programs. The training of 600 new PAs will also be funded, as provided for under the ACA (AAPA, n.d.).
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The perspective of AAPA on healthcare consumers (patients) are contained in its explanation of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH), as it relates to PAs. According to the association, the PCMH care model embraces the patient, as an important member of the care delivery team. Under the model, the patient receives comprehensive, continuing, and well-coordinated care. On the one hand, the improved access to care entails convenient hours, short wait duration, utilization of electronic communication, as well as appropriate response to patients’ preferences (AAPA, n.d.).
On the other hand, the AAPA terms it unlawful for private insurers to negotiate with a professional PA association on the pricing of health care services of those covered. The same applies in a negotiation on other issues, such as the scope of services or credentialing requirements. The association indicates that such practices violate the anti-trust laws, and this includes when the negotiating partner is a managed care organization or a third-party payer. Although a PA association can conduct a survey on prevailing fees and other PA-payer contracts conditions, such a survey should not result in outright price-fixing (AAPA, n.d.).
AAPA partners with specialty organizations, so that they can support its knowledge based on practice issues, facing various medical specialties. One of these is PAs for tomorrow, whose perspectives largely resemble those of AAPA. It advocates for accuracy in the presentation of the PA profession, the professionals’ autonomy, and for the PAs to develop and survive in future healthcare marketplace. It holds the view that PA identity and value, as well as contribution to the health care system, should be recognized and that barriers to PA practice should be eliminated (PAs for Tomorrow, n.d.).
At the helm of AAPA’s leadership is the Chief Executive Officer, Jeniffer L. Dorn. Appointed by the board of directors in 2011, Dorn is an Oregon State University graduate and also holds a Master’s degree from the University of Connecticut, specializing in Public Administration. On top of this, she holds 30 years of management experience, pertaining research, healthcare, and policy. She has served in several leadership positions, including as the president of the National Health Museum and American Red Cross’s Senior Vice President (AAPA, n.d.).
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Major responsibilities of Dorn as the CEO include leading the formulation and implementation of the society’s long-term strategy, in order to create value for the members of PAs. She is also responsible for the daily management decisions that have to be made, as well as for implementing the association’s short-term and long-term plans. Additionally, she is a liaison between the association’s management and the board of directors and, as such, reaches out to the board on the management’s behalf. It is also her responsibility to communicate on the association’s behalf to employees, the member PAs, authorities, the public, and other stakeholders (Sterling Resources, n.d.). This being the case, her position facilitates AAPA’s achievement of its goals and vision. By doing so, the healthcare system gains from the association’s efforts to contribute towards the creation of patient-centered team-based practice.
The position of the CEO requires knowledge and skills in management and leadership, organizing, coordination of resources and activities, and planning. Dorn has to have the knowledge and skills that will enable her to manage the organizational functions, whereas she should possess the competencies required for leading other people and the association, as a whole. She also has to be well equipped for the association’s planning, most importantly, for the strategic planning. She has to be knowledgeable of HRM, organization of staff, groups, and reorganization of the association, if required. As a coordinator, she has to possess the skills to be able to smoothly run all the operations of the association (Sterling Resources, n.d.).
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Jennifer Dorn works with Karen Morgan-Senior VP, Governance and Leadership; Lynn Schoenfelder-VP, HR; Tillie Fowler-Senior VP, Advocacy and Government Relations; Lisa Gables-the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Development Officer; James Marquis-Chief Information Officer; Deirdre Middleton-VP, Communications and Media Relations; Amy Noecker-VP, Publishing and Digital Services and MD, Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management; Michael Powe-VP, Professional and Reimbursement Advocacy; Catherine Gahres, VP, Membership Development and Services; Donna Nogay-VP, Marketing and Creative Services and Interim Communications; Ann Davis-VP, Constituent Organization outreach and Advocacy; and Daniel Pace-VP, Education and Research and Chief Strategy Officer (AAPA, n.d.).
Being the CEO of an association that represents PAs, Dorn is in a position to contribute towards the improvement of healthcare system by ensuring that the PAs are empowered to effectively perform their roles as the primary care providers. Also, by ensuring that PAs effectively collaborate with other providers, Dorn will be facilitating patients’ access to the highest quality of care under the given circumstances.
In conclusion, the AAPA represents PA’s in an effort to enable them to realize the career growth, improve their working environment, and enable them to play a greater and more effective role towards the health care system. It also has in its interest the patients, through its goal to achieve a patient-centered medical home, where patients are served by a team of health care providers. Notably, it works towards these objectives by educating and advocating on the behalf of PAs.