The Benefits of APACVS Membership
• Two annual educational meetings, one in conjunction with the STS Annual Meeting, and the other in the summer at a resort destination, so that PAs can combine education and vacation. CME lectures are given by leading experts in the field of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. Workshops conducted at these meetings offer exposure to such skills as endoscopic vessel harvesting, ultrasound, sternal closure, and reimbursement issues. Members receive discounted registration fees.
• Semi-annual Certificate of Completion Invasive Skills Courses, at which CVT PAs learn and perform hands-on technical procedures in an animal lab setting via individualized instruction. APACVS members also receive discounted registration fees at these educational activities.
PUBLICATIONS / RESOURCES
• The annual Practice & Compensation Profile provides a comprehensive picture of the role of the CVT PA in contemporary practice and the compensation typically received. It is prepared by an independent research firm and is a valid and statistically significant document.
• APACVS produces publications promoting the role of the CVT PA and guidelines for credentialing of the CVT PA.
• The Association’s journal, CardioVISION™, is produced quarterly and keeps readers informed of news and events affecting the CVT PA. Job ads and industry advertisements are also included.
PROMOTION OF THE INDIVIDUAL & THE FIELD
• The APACVS Fellow Membership category provides qualified members the opportunity to display a level of experience and excellence in practice through the use of the FAPACVS designation. Fellow Member Designation has been recognized and formally endorsed by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS).
• The Vital Role of the Cardiovascular/Thoracic Physician Assistant on the Physician-PA Team, a CD-ROM developed and produced by the Association to help educate the medical community about what CVT PAs can do. Copies are available from the APACVS office and have been distributed to PAs, educators, surgeons, and hospital and practice administrators at national meetings to promote the CVT PA.
• APACVS partnered with several other PA specialty organizations to develop an advertisement promoting the utilization of the PA in surgery and surgical specialties; it has appeared in numerous publications, including the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
• The APACVS exhibits at STS, AATS and AAPA meetings throughout the world. APACVS members staff the exhibit and promote the role of the CVT PA to surgeons, to hospital and practice administrators, and to PAs in other arenas.
• APACVS maintains professional liaison relationships with the STS, AATS, TSDA, AAPA,AASPA. While these relationships are often called intangible benefits, they are often the most beneficial to the practicing CVT PA. For example, the boards of directors of the APACVS and Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) meet annually. This proactive, positive relationship has provided practical assistance to CVTPA on numerous occasions.
Examples include when the New York State Department of Health wanted to implement a regulation mandating that a physician must be present and scrubbed as first assistant on all procedures presenting a risk to a patient. The APACVS brought this to the attention of the STS, and the STS immediately contacted the NYSDOH, gaining an exemption to this regulation for CVT PAs. (New Jersey subsequently adopted the NY guidelines, allowing CVT PAs to serve as first assistant in all cardiothoracic procedures).
When a family practitioner in a Southern state became an influential member of the Board of Medicine and began attempting to limit CVT PAs activities, the STS, at the request of the APACVS, issued a formal letter of endorsement which included a list of activities a CVT could perform under the jurisdiction of the PA’s employing physician. The American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) subsequently issued a similar statement.
• The APACVS maintains a delegate in the AAPA House of Delegates, the legislative body of the Academy. This representative has been vital in educating the non-CVT PA as to the vital role the CVT PA plays in contemporary medicine.
• APACVS has developed positive, informal relationships with other professional organizations. For example, for the past decade, the APACVS has maintained a positive, communicative relationship with the NCCPA. On numerous occasions, board members have met with NCCPA representatives to develop CVT test questions for inclusion in the NCCPA question bank. Recently, APACVS representatives traveled to Atlanta to represent the interest’s of CVT PA’s in the discussions and debate regarding providing specialty recognition for PAs.