Is Optimal Team Practice the same as independent practice?
No. Optimal Team Practice is about team practice – not independent practice. PAs are not seeking to practice independently. The new policy simply seeks to enable a PA to practice without the legal requirement to enter into a supervisory agreement with a physician. In fact, Optimal Team Practice includes two important points that distinguish it from independent practice: 1. It reinforces PAs’ commitment to team practice with physicians and explicitly states the PA/physician team model continues to be relevant, applicable and patient-centered; and, 2. Calls for the degree of collaboration between PAs and physicians to be made at the practice level, in accordance with the practice type and the education and experience of the practicing PA. Currently, PAs are held to professional and ethical standards by state regulatory authorities. Under the Optimal Team Practice framework, PAs will still be legally and ethically obligated to consult with and refer patients to physicians based on the patient’s condition, the standard of care, and the PA’s education and experience. If they don’t, that PA will be subject to disciplinary action by the state medical board, just as any other medical provider would be.
Are NCAPA’s policies the same as the full practice authority pursued by NPs?
No, it’s not the same – it’s better. The PA profession’s commitment to team practice is powerful. The PA and physician who work together get to keep all the benefits of the team without the legal risks and administrative burdens. Everyone wins.
Will this change how PAs work with physicians?
It won’t change how PAs and physicians practice together, but it will enable them to care for patients without the unnecessary administrative burdens, and without a physician being responsible for PA provided care. The PA role is well established – no change is required or anticipated. PAs will continue to consult, collaborate with, and refer patients to physicians just as they do now.
Whom can I contact for questions?
Please reach out to Emily Adams, NCAPA Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and comments.