AAPA Leaders Questioned During Town Hall
Late yesterday afternoon, AAPA president Stephen Hanson, president-elect Patrick Killeen and CEO Bill Leinweber assembled with "Antiques Roadshow" host Mark Walberg, the emcee for the second annual Town Hall event. For an hour, they took many questions from PAs in the audience and online. Here are some highlights:
• A PA from Georgia asked about updates from the academy regarding its financial situation. Killeen assured attendees that despite $1.5 million in losses, "We’re financially sound."
• A Louisiana PA asked, "How will we meet the needs of the growing educational problem?" Hanson admitted that educating PAs (and especially finding preceptors and clinical sites) can be a struggle, and that one piece missing from health care reform was how exactly to educate all the physicians, PAs and NPs necessary for the system to work. And Leinweber mentioned that as far as educating PAs specifically, ARC-PA has historically been a small, limited-resource organization.
• A PA from Ohio inquired about the AAPA’s role in marketing the profession. Hanson took the opportunity to note that a media lunch had been planned with CNN health reporters for the next day (today), and that the academy had generated significant stories in major magazines over the past year. In addition, "It’s a matter of size," Hanson noted. It’s difficult to go head-to-head with physicians and nurses in the number of media mention each profession generates, as both groups are much larger than PAs.
• The PA also asked where the name change issue (from physician assistant to physician associate) stands. Hanson said the official policy regarding the name physician assistant was adopted in 2000 and affirmed in 2005, and will "remain so until someone convinces otherwise" in the House of Delegates.
• Finally, a PA referenced—thought not specifically by name—negative comments made by physicians on the online forum Sermo and wondered if there was any sort of policing possible. Hanson agreed that the level of negative discourse, especially by those who post anonymously, is disheartening. "Decorum goes out the window," he said, and there is no way to police that. Hanson even admitted, "It’s hard for me to keep my calm."
Check back with ADVANCE for more news from IMPACT 2010.