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AAPM&R Board of Governors Proposes Membership for Advanced Practice Providers

Dear AAPM&R Members:

At our recent in-person meeting, the AAPM&R Board of Governors voted to put forward a new membership category for Advanced Practice Providers (APPs), along with committing to develop educational resources for both physiatrists who work with APPs as well as APPs themselves. APPs are non-physician members of the care team, including Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physicians Assistants (PAs). The new membership category specifically applies to NPs and PAs, and the bylaws changes will be voted upon by membership at the AAPM&R Business Meeting on Friday, October 26 during the Annual Assembly.

The Visioning PM&R Bold initiative gathered input from thousands of physiatrists to better understand the opportunities today’s practicing physiatrist foresees for the specialty. As a result of that effort, a bold new vision for the specialty was defined, and it offers exciting new opportunities for each of us. However, in order for our practice models to transform and our vision to become a reality, we must address current barriers in practice. Workforce limitations was consistently mentioned by members, both in terms of addressing burnout and as a challenge to expanding physiatry’s impact in health care.

We must seize this opportunity to define and promote the rehabilitation team across the spectrum of care, or it will be done for us at the expense of patient access to rehabilitative services. As team leaders, no one is better positioned than physiatrists to train and focus the efforts of our team members to maximize impact. In 2017, AAPM&R surveyed our peer groups and societies about their involvement with APPs. Nearly 75% have an APP membership category. Other specialties are already actively recruiting, educating, and retaining these important members of the care team. In order to attract the best possible care team members, we must welcome them and work collaboratively with them. The Board of Governors believes that by creating a community through membership and developing education specifically for APPs, it will help us advance together for the betterment of the specialty and patient populations we serve.

The Academy Board of Governors, working with the AAPM&R Membership Committee and Medical Education Committee, explored multiple options and models. A robust discussion focused on workforce limitations and scope of practice concerns. Ultimately, there were two rationales that led to the recommendation.

  • According to the recent PM&R Compensation Survey, 70% of Academy members currently work with APPs in practice. As rehabilitation team leaders, physiatrists have a unique opportunity to train APPs and maximize their impact in physiatric practice.
  • The proposed APP membership category strengthens the Academy’s newly-developed strategic plan, and reinforces the team-centered culture of the specialty.

In times of change and many unknowns, we must be bold and decisive about our future. Our new vision provides us direction. Help us be successful in making it a reality by supporting this new group of members, and arming yourself with the resources the AAPM&R provides to strengthen your care team.

We thank you for your continued support, and look forward to advancing the specialty and our ability to better serve our patients.

Kind regards,
Your AAPM&R Board of Governors

Revised Bylaws

ARTICLE IV – MEMBERSHIP

Section A. Classes of Members. They Academy is composed of the following eleven twelve (1112) membership classes:

12. Advanced Practice Provider

An Advanced Practice Provider must be a Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner eligible for membership in his or her professional discipline’s national association. He/she shall have recognized education or licensure/certification, or formal appointment relevant and customary for the professional type. For the purposes of this Section A.12, the Academy’s Membership Committee shall determine in its sole discretion what constitutes a “a physician assistant or nurse practitioner.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is being proposed regarding Advanced Practice Providers (APPs)?

  • The Academy Board of Governors is proposing a new Advanced Practice Provider membership category.
  • Only Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) would be eligible for the Advanced Practice Provider member category. Others on the care team, including Practice managers, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and other members of the rehabilitation team would not eligible for the APP membership category.
  • In addition, the Academy will create educational resources for both physiatrists and APPs to advance their collaboration and further physiatric values in the spectrum of patient care.

Why is AAPM&R Board of Governors proposing a new Advanced Practice Provider (APP) membership category?

  • The Academy’s Visioning PM&R Bold initiative gathered input from thousands of physiatrists to better understand the opportunities today’s practicing physiatrist foresees for the specialty. As a result of that effort, a bold new vision for the specialty was defined, and barriers to making the vision a reality were identified.
  • One barrier identified consistently by today’s practicing physiatrist is workforce limitations. In order for the specialty to expand its impact across the health care spectrum, physiatrists, as team leaders, must advance its collaboration with other health care professionals.
  • By creating an APP membership category, the Academy has the opportunity to continue to demonstrate physiatrists’ team leadership and collaboration with other health care professionals in a way to maximize the impact of physical medicine and rehabilitation in the future of medicine.
  • Ultimately, the Academy’s goal is to ensure patient access to rehabilitative services is not limited, while at the same time ensuring the values of physiatry are maximized in their potential.

Why is the APP membership category necessary?

The Academy Board of Governors, working with the AAPM&R Membership Committee and Medical Education Committee, explored multiple options and models, and thoroughly discussed the following:

  • According to the recent PM&R Compensation Survey, 70% of Academy members currently work with APPs in practice. As rehabilitation team leaders, physiatrists have a unique opportunity to train APPs and maximize their impact in physiatric practice.
  • The proposed APP membership category strengthens the Academy’s newly-developed strategic plan, and reinforces the team-centered culture of the specialty.
  • In 2017, AAPM&R surveyed our peer groups and societies about their involvement with APPs. Nearly 75% have an APP membership category. Other specialties are already actively recruiting, educating, and retaining these important members of the care team. In order to attract the best possible care team members, we must welcome them and work collaboratively with them.

What member benefits will Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) receive?

  • The APP member category will offer access to PM&R, the purple journal, The Physiatrist, Connection, discounts on in-person and online education.
  • The APP member category does not have voting rights, and cannot hold a Board or Committee Chair position.

What type of access will Advanced Practice Provider (APP) members have to AAPM&R education and training?

  • The Academy will be developing education specifically for APPs to meet their unique needs, although there may be APP interest, as well as member interest, in APPs participating in courses or programs designed for our physiatrist members. 
  • Our goal is to find a way to be welcoming to APP members while ensuring there is no negative impact on physiatrists (and their access to education) as our primary membership group.  
    APPs will be welcome to participate in all online education and didactic courses that do not have capacity limits. 
  • All hands-on offerings—which have limited capacity—will state specifically who the educational activity is planned for, and the required pre-requisites based on the learning objectives. In addition:
    • For activities designed specifically for physicians (i.e., more advanced procedures, etc.), the Academy can limit registration to physicians only.  This would be a business decision based on the limited capacity of the course.  The Academy may choose to include APPs in hands-on courses primarily designed for physicians as there may be value in their participation; in these cases, it would be communicated that priority would be given to physicians during hands-on training.  
    • If and when APPs become a membership category, the Academy can also limit a course to a specific membership category (i.e., our Fellow membership category).

When will the Advanced Practice Provider (APP) membership category become available?

  • If approved by membership at the 2018 Business Meeting on Saturday, October 27 during the Annual Assembly, the membership category would be available as part of 2019 dues, which opens in November 2018.

What is the Advanced Practice Provider (APP) membership fee?

  • The annual dues fee will be $195.

I am unable to attend the Business Meeting at the Annual Assembly. How can I submit my comments on the proposed membership?

  • Please email memberservices@aapmr.org with your input regarding the proposed membership. The AAPM&R Board of Governors will receive your input.