2012 AAPA House of Delegates Report
The 2012 AAPA House of Delegates (HOD) wrapped up another historic session yesterday in Toronto, Ontario during the AAPA’s first conference in Canada. Once again, there were a few contentious issues that led to immense debate amongst the delegates in attendance.
One particular issue that has been gaining a lot of attention in the weeks leading up to this year’s HOD has been the PA Name Change debate. Earlier this year, the AAPA responded to a call from an organized group of PAs wishing for a professional title change to “Physician Associate” by sending out a poll to the AAPA membership. The poll far from resolved the issue in the minds of many, as 47% of respondents were in favor of a name change. (Of note, subsequent breakdown showed that 50% of Floridian respondents were in favor of the name change.) Although a majority of PA respondents were not willing to PAY for such a name change, it was clear that this issue was going to need to be addressed before the HOD once again.
Two resolutions were originally submitted for this session calling for a professional title change to “physician associate,” however these were withdrawn by the author just days prior to the HOD. Nonetheless, a Texas resolution was submitted that WAS heard this weekend calling for a task force that would look into the ramifications of a title change for the profession. Heated debates were heard both Sunday and Monday, including a California amendment calling for an independent unbiased task force to be hired by the AAPA to undertake the effort. (See attached C-05 Resolution Document for specifics from the Reference Committee report). Both sides of this issue were voiced, however there was much testimony over concern on the cost that could be incurred on an already strained AAPA budget for such a task force to be put together and funded. Florida’s delegation suggested a proposal to amend the resolution to create a special fund whereby donations from members can pay for the cost of such an independent task force, however this idea was not accepted by the Reference Committee because it was considered “not germane” to the original proposal. By a majority vote, the resolution for an independent task force failed. While House Speaker Hull allowed the resolution to be reconsidered yet again with multiple new amendments attempted, it was repeatedly defeated by the House.
Another contentious resolution to edit an already existing AAPA Position Paper, which calls for the opposition of NCCPA specialty certification, led to a lengthy debate, as it added opposition of participation in the certificate of added qualifications (CAQ) as implemented by NCCPA. Opponents of the resolution also seemed to oppose the position of the paper in general, as testimony revealed a concern that the “train had already left the station” on specialty certification and opposition would be futile and potentially problematic for PAs. However, proponents of the resolution pointed out major concern over the loss of flexibility of the PA profession and inappropriate interpretation of these exams by insurers and malpractice carriers. There was even concerned testimony that CMS had tried to tie PA reimbursement to these certifications. After much debate, the segment of the edited paper calling for members to be advised not to participate in CAQs was ultimately rejected, yet the rest of the amended paper speaking out against NCCPA specialty certification was accepted as a whole by the delegation.
A resolution which struck a nerve with many AAPA members (per emails received by FAPA President Dayne Alonso) was proposed calling for the House of Delegates (rather than AAPA members) to be in charge of electing AAPA At-Large Board Members. Pro testimony centered around a feeling that HOD members were in a better position to know which leaders were best for the Academy. However, compelling testimony was given that AAPA members could feel disenfranchised or alienated by such a policy. The delegation rejected the resolution by a large margin, as a result. Therefore, AAPA members will continue electing the At-Large members of the AAPA Board of Directors.
A few other resolutions were rejected, including a call for the AAPA to put on a 2013 pilot program to study the NCCPA’s new “Maintenance of Certification” 10 year model, which is already slated to begin in 2014. There were several significant resolutions also that were passed after substantial debate, including one that allows for the HOD to vote electronically in the case of an emergency over necessary AAPA Bylaws changes. This latter policy is part of an attempt to make the AAPA House of Delegates a continuously operating body.
These were just a few of the 28 submitted resolutions that were heard or debated before the AAPA House of Delegates this past weekend, of which 23 were passed (many after amendments). The AAPA will publish the full list of passed resolutions on their website in the coming weeks.
Your Florida delegation was honored to have the opportunity to represent Florida PAs once again at the Annual AAPA House of Delegates, held this year in Toronto. We encourage your thoughts and comments and look forward to the next big PA policy making event next year, to be held in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.
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