An Informed Decision
If you’re going to make a decision about something, that decision should be well informed… this includes whether you decide to invest in an AAPA membership. Just like reviewing an informed consent with a patient where we cover the risks, benefits and alternatives, you should understand what you’re missing out on if you aren’t a member of the AAPA.
These are the top 7 benefits to AAPA membership and why getting plugged into the network and advocacy efforts of the American Academy of Physician Associates should matter to you.
Disclaimer – this episode is in no way supported by the AAPA, I’m simply a fan, a member, and believe that you should understand the benefits that come along with membership. Regardless of whether you decide to become a member after tuning in or not – this episode will share some of the lesser known benefits of membership to the American Academy of Physician Associates.
Since it was founded over 50 years ago in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Associates has been the national professional society for PAs.
So, what does the AAPA do, anyway?
The AAPA advocates on behalf of PAs and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients that we serve in clinical practice. According to their website the AAPA works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of PAs.
The team at the AAPA works to enhance PAs ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare.
AAPA’s Mission and Vision
I’ve been a member of the AAPA since I was a student participating in the National Challenge Bowl hosted at the AAPA National Conference in Toronto in 2012. In fact, not to brag but that year our team made it to the finals and lost on the final question to Nova Southeastern-Jacksonville.
The answer to that question was HELLP – Hemolyis, Elevated Liver enzymes & Low Platelets) that is a life-threatening pregnancy complication – we *knew* the answer but we didn’t buzz fast enough.
If you’ve never attended the national challenge bowl – or “nerd bowl” – and my Dad lovingly referred to it at the time when I was on the challenge bowl and training for the completion – the energy in that room is INCREDIBLE. Schools come decked out, faces painted, cheering sections raise the roof and it’s what I would imagine a bowl game of a college that’s BIG on football to feel like – for a quiz competition all about medical facts and diagnoses.
I digress – I’ve been an AAPA member for 10 years and I’ve not once known specifically what their vision and mission are.
The AAPA’s vision:
PAs transforming health through patient-centered, team-based medical practice.
The AAPA’s mission:
AAPA leads the profession and empowers our members to advance their careers and enhance patient health.
Of the 159,000 PAs in the US, over 70,000 are already AAPA members – if that’s you, YAY – hopefully you can learn about some benefits you may not already know about in this episode! If you’re not already a member or you *were* a member but have let your membership lapse, this episode is for you.
That’s less than 50% of the active PAs in the US who support the AAPA with their membership dues and take advantage of the benefits that come along with membership.
Reason 1 – AAPA Salary Report
Whether you are searching for a new job and wondering how much to ask for salary wise, comparing offers and curious how they hold up in the specialty you work in and city you live in or simply wanting to take a look and see if your current employer is saying THANK YOU and valuing you well – the AAPA Salary Report should be your first stop.
Each year the AAPA Surveys PAs and asks them questions about their base salary, productivity bonus, compensation for call, hours, state, city and specialty worked and so much more. They compile all the data and put it together. Historically this was a PDF packed with information. In 2022 data was compiled in both PDF form and in a searchable, interactive format online.
I want to remind you that you can participate in the AAPA Salary Survey, it takes typically 15-20 minutes to complete, even if you are not an AAPA member at this time. The more PAs take the time to complete the survey and share their salary and compensation information, totally anonymously, the more complete and accurate the data that is generated as a result of the survey.
You can take the 2023 Salary Survey anytime between now and February 28th. Why bother? Well, for the reasons that I said about accurate data, but also because as a survey respondent you are entered into a survey to win one of 40 $25 gift cards and are granted access to a free summary of the national-level PA compensation data.
Also – because someday you may want to use the AAPA Salary Report to negotiate. This data helps PAs to advocate for the salary, compensation package and benefits that they more than deserve. The data is broken down by national, regional and state salary categories, it’s broken out by specialty, subspecialty, practice setting, years of experience, hours worked, and more.
You can take the salary survey if you are practicing clinically, but also if you are in education, research or work primarily as an administrator in your role as a PA.
Reason 2 – AAPA PA Political Action Committee
AAPA’s Political Action Committee, PA PAC, supports candidates for Congress (both Republicans and Democrats) who are committed to the principles that drive the PA profession.
The PAC strengthens the PA voice on capital hill. It’s a bipartisan political action committee that’s the only federal PAC dedicated to advancing the PA profession.
The fact sheet online for the AAPA PA PAC noted that less than 4% of the AAPA members contributed to to the PAC in 2020. There is definite room for improvement in this area as AAPA members and PAs who understand the difference that representation at a federal legislative level makes in advancing the laws governing our profession.
If every member of the AAPA contributed $35 to the PA PAC, which equates to less than 0.09 per day, we would rank as Number #1 among the health provider PACs. Currently NPs give to their Political Action Committee at a rate of more than double the rate that we as PAs are contributing to ours.
If you feel like the fact that NPs have more favorable laws or representation in your state, if you see job listings for NPs instead of PAs or find that practices and organizations in your area favor hiring NPs because of them misunderstanding PAs and what we can do, the single best thing you can do is join the AAPA and contribute to the AAPA PA PAC.
We need to update the laws governing our profession at a state and federal level and the AAPA is helping to make that happen. We need to be seen, to be heard, to be giving a seat at the table and a vote in the way that we are updating the outdated legislature.
Reason 3 – High Quality CME
As an AAPA member you get monthly access to JAAPA, with CME and articles to stay abreast of what’s happening in the PA profession each month. The JAAPA CME post tests live inside the CME Central part of the website – this is 13 hours of free Category 1 CME per year.
There are tons of CME available for free with AAPA membership alongside discounts for live events throughout the year.
Overall, Learning Central houses more than 500 hours of Category 1 CME.
Reason 4 – Your Employer Pays
Often times your employer foots the bill, as a part of your compensation package, for professional memberships. This may be included in or separate from your CME budget in your comp plan.
This means that your AAPA membership is covered by your employer. You become a member and submit for reimbursement or ask your employer to pay on the front end for you to be able to experience the benefits of being an AAPA member.
Reason 5 – AAPA Member Discounts
AAPA Members enjoy discounts on everything from PANRE review courses to travel services like rental cars and hotels, life and disability insurance, auto and home insurance. You can enjoy savings on your UpToDate membership, Medelita scrubs, lab coats and even appreciate savings on UPS services.
The greatest part of this, that I see? If you work pays for the membership, fellow memberships start at $295 per year and then you benefit from the discounts, you get deals for a membership that you didn’t write the check for.
Reason 6 – Billing and Reimbursement Resources
Years ago, when attending the AAPA as a student, I sat in on a workshop with Tricia Marriott on PA billing and reimbursement basics.
As a student I had quite frankly NO idea what billing, coding and reimbursement even were. I had this vague idea that these things existed, but I didn’t know the mechanics of what constituted a level 3, 4 or 5 visit, how to chart in a way that was both accurate and maximizing my billing while appropriately representing the care that I provided to the patient.
The other major takeaway that I learned at that workshop all those years ago is how to quantify your value if you work in a surgical subspecialty. Those who work in surgery know that a lot of your job is to see pre and post-op global patients who don’t generate specific revenue, but allow the surgeon to do revenue generating work during that time.
The AAPA has resources on the potential issues with the lack of transparency created by incident to biling, specific resources and recommendations for billing for medicare services vs. private pay insurers.
There are incredible resources for Coding, using CPT and ICD codes to make sure that you are charting appropriately.
Reason 7 – Community, Camaraderie & the AAPA National Conference
I’ve saved the best reason for last – the camaraderie and community that comes from being an AAPA member and the benefits of attending the National AAPA Conference.
Whether it’s being connected to the mentorship resources, the job board, or participating in the constituent organizations or special interest groups – there are a myriad of opportunities to connect with other PAs through the AAPA.
There is the AAPA Membership Huddle board that is a discussion board where you can inquire about other PAs experiences in different specialties, parts of the countries, and clinical settings.
The PA Moms group is a super active group on facebook that I belong to, who also happen to be a special interest group of the AAPA. But that’s just one example of a special interest group
SIGs – special interest groups – are informal groups composed of individuals sharing a common goal or interest – these groups are recognized and approved by the AAPA Board of Directors.
There are SIGs for AAPA Membership and members who work in and are interested in disaster medicine PAs, lifestyle medicine PAs, coast guard PAs, PAs for financial growth, oral health, in radiology, research, and even a special interest group for PAs in wilderness medicine.
Then there’s the National AAPA conference! As a part of AAPA membership, this conference is a must-attend stand out networking, learning and all around FUN event.
What an awesome opportunity to learn from other PAs, connect with PAs, network and feel seen and heard as a part of this incredible movement of our profession.
It’s the only national conference of it’s kind. The CME offerings are incredible, high quality, and they have different tracks available depending on what area of medicine you work in or what subjects you want to brush up on.
You can get hours of CME, go out to dinner with colleagues and friends from across the country and brand new members of your network that you just connected with that day.
The best way to get the most out of the conference is to go with an open mind, keep your head out of your phone, make eye contact, shake hand and introduce yourself to those around you.
The AAPA National Conference is kind of like summer camp for adult PAs where you get to get away from the everyday of your life, your day-to-day responsibilities at home and connect with this nation-wide network of PAs.
Professionally, it’s pretty easy to feel you exist in a silo – alone in your town, specialty or organization – at the AAPA you are likely to meet other PAs who are in similar situations, different situations, who do the same or other specialties – and you will walk away feeling that you are a part of something bigger than yourself… because you are.
The AAPA serves to advocate for, educate and connect PAs across states, cultural differences and more. It’s such a great organization with a team that is working hard to do their best to advance our profession with PAs and our patients at the forefront of their mind and focus.
Networking matters *greatly* as a PA. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s necessary. Here is a post all about networking professionally and how it is vital to your career.
Your PA Is In Tip of the Day
Join the AAPA and enjoy these AAPA membership benefits and more! We’d love to have you join this community, grow your network and take advantage of the awesome resources and member benefits that come along with membership to the American Academy of Physician Associates. You can join right here.
Concerned about NPs and how they (might) pose a threat to the future of the PA Profession? Learn my thoughts on this hot topic in this post.