HOD Activity at AAPA IMPACT 2012
The House of Delegates (HOD) of the American Academy of Physician Assistants consists of voting delegates from state chapters, officially recognized specialty organizations, the Caucus Congress and the Student Academy, who are elected by their constituents. Each year at the AAPA IMPACT conference, the HOD convenes to hear testimony on changes to AAPA policy. This year, in Toronto, the HOD gathered to discuss many proposed resolutions, ranging in topic from electronic voting in the HOD to a revised election process to the AAPA’s position on PAs earning specialty certificates to the establishment of a task force to study the ramifications of changing the title of the PA profession. (See all of the 2012 HOD resolutions.) Of the 28 resolutions proposed, 23 passed, many with no discussion.
Before the conference, the air was thick with tension over two proposed resolutions to change the title of the PA profession to "physician associate," but those resolutions were withdrawn before the HOD convened. A resolution submitted by the Texas chapter proposed the formation of a task force to study ramifications for the profession of a name change for the physician assistant profession (resolution C-05). Passionate testimony was given both for and against the resolution, and an amendment was submitted on the floor that would have required the study to be conducted by an unbiased organization. Ultimately the resolution failed to pass.
Another hotly debated topic during the HOD was proposed revisions to AAPA's position paper on specialty education for physician assistants. The existing language opposes specialty certification for PAs. The proposed change was added language that opposes the Certificates of Added Qualification, which NCCPA, the certifying body for physician assistants, instituted in 2011. Many delegates testified that flexibility is the hallmark of the PA profession. Others testified that PAs' behavior should not be steered by the AAPA. One delegate offered this testimony: "The train has left the station." And another said, "There are only 230 graduates. Stop this now." Yet another delegate reminded the HOD that Eugene A. Stead, founder of the profession, held that no one should be restricted to improve their abilities. The resolution passed with amendments.
For some historical perspective on the name change debate, see the following from ADVANCE:
Also see "AAPA House Debates PA Title Change Task Force" from PA Pro Now. For information on all of the resolutions, see the House of Delegates 2012 Resolutions AAPA Management Perspective.