The Outgoing President’s Letter
As I reflect on my past year as President of MAPA, two thoughts struck me: 1) wow, the year went by fast, and 2) I truly enjoyed being President. After having served as Treasurer for eight years it was refreshing to step into a new role as part of this organization. What made the role as President most enjoyable was the support and enthusiasm of people serving with me on the Board of Directors. I have been fortunate in my life to have had two occasions where being part of a group helped to make me a better person. The first occurred during my time in PA school. The most recent was being part of this Board.
I want to thank the members of the Board for their tireless dedication to MAPA and the Physician Assistant profession. Few people outside of the BOD know of the efforts put forth by this small but dedicated group. Heather Trafton, Legislative Chair and Immediate Past President, has been a one-woman force in advancing PAs in healthcare legislation and regulations. She has attended countless hearings, met with legislators and regulators, attended fundraiser (at her own expense) in order to advance the practice environment for PAs in the state. Sean Robinson, President-elect, attends the monthly PA Board of Registration meeting, represented MAPA in the AAPA HOD, and attending legislative and regulatory hearings. MAPA is very fortunate to have Sean as its incoming President. Sean and Pam McColl, Director at Large (DAL), worked
tirelessly to set up Student Advocacy Day on Beacon Hill. I especially appreciate Pam’s ability to take ideas put forth at meetings and make them better. Maha Lund, Secretary, stayed committed to her role despite taking over as Program Director of MCPHS-Boston. Her efforts to
make time, when she really did not have the time, are greatly appreciated. Meredith Johnson, Treasurer, has embraced this new role and managed the finances of the organization well. Dave Probert DAL, as always, provides us with the unique prospective that comes from having been part of this organization for 20 years. Chris Leahy and Sheri Talbott stepped in to fill vacant DAL positions and provided us with renewed enthusiasm and thoughts to improve MAPA. To the members of MAPA: Thank you for your support by renewing your membership. I will be
the first to tell you that we are not a perfect organization, but we are striving to do our best and meet your needs. We need the financial support of PAs in the state to continue the mission of representing all PAs in the state and providing the best practice environment possible. Please encourage your colleagues to join you in the support of MAPA.
Julie Purcell, PA-C
The President’s Letter
As I prepare to assume the position of president of the Massachusetts Association of Physician Assistants, I must take the time to remember those who have helped me reach this point and recognize their good deeds. Firstly, I thank Immediate Past President Julie Purcell for her
guidance and mentorship; her organizational skills and supportive leadership style have been hugely beneficial for the progressive advancement of the PA profession and the recognition of all that MAPA is doing for its members. Chair of the Legislative Committee, Heather Trafton, has accomplished so much in the last year that words would not do justice to what she has given to the profession. Her tireless efforts at improving the PA profession in conjunction with Charles Glick of Charles Group Consulting have resulted in recent changes to Massachusetts legislation that are on par with professional milestones such as provisions of prescriptive practice for the profession. Others that I am indebted to include David Probert who introduced me to MAPA and the intricacies of the House of Delegates; Pam McColl for teaming up with me and other faculty in an effort to engage PA students in the organization; Jay Chamberlain for providing top quality CME events for MAPA and greatly assisting in the management of a steadily growing association; Maha Lund for her years of dedicated service as secretary; Maria Sullivan for enduring the headaches that accompany any editors profession; and Sheri Talbott and Meredith Johnson for being the fastest learning newbies MAPA may ever get to know. Thanks to all of you and those whom I’ve failed to mention for getting MAPA to where it is today.
MAPA has accomplished a great deal in recent years. We have witnessed a steady increase in membership within the last year, representing a growing interest among clinically active PAs and highly motivated PA students in the support of our great profession. Attendance at CME events has gone up rapidly in the last several years, harking back to the days of the Cape Cod conference which many of us remember fondly as a “coming home” for the PAs of Massachusetts. In the State House, huge leaps of progress have been made in how our elected officials perceive us, finally casting light onto the notion of PAs being an integral part of health care reform. None of this would be so were it not for the efforts of MAPA, Charles Group Consulting, and Chamberlain Medical Resources.
But now is not the time to sit back and rest on our laurels. Issues such as PA use of ionizing radiation and return-to-play regulations have not yet been resolved. Reimbursement from third party payers (namely private insurers), though likely to improve with recent legislative changes, isn’t where it should be for PA services. And finally, though we are becoming an increasingly recognized cog in the wheel of health care delivery, there is still a deficiency of knowledge among other health care providers in the existing and potential benefits of the PA profession. What lays ahead for MAPA and all PAs in the Commonwealth is an opportunity to resolve the above mentioned issues through interactions with lawmakers, leaders, and participants in the health care system. It is my goal as President of MAPA to foster this process and carry on the phenomenal work that has been done by my predecessors.
Sean T. Robinson, MS, PA-C
Heather Trafton, MBA, PA-C, Director at Large, Chair of the MAPA Legislative Committee Massachusetts is embarking on groundbreaking healthcare reform legislation once again as the two-year legislative term comes to a close on July 31, 2012. The House and Senate have spent the better part of these past two years drafting health policy that would aim at reducing health care costs. Both the House and Senate have recognized that PAs can play a key role in this effort as well as increase access for patients, something of which we as PAs should be very proud. Not only did MAPA achieve our objectives for policy changes regarding PA practice specifically, we were also able to achieve PA inclusion in broader health reform language such as student loan forgiveness. We believe these are the most positive changes made to state statutes for PAs since the adoption of prescriptive practice many years ago.
MAPA’s achievements were a result of tireless efforts by PAs who advocated for the profession, support from the State’s PA programs and by one of our greatest champions in the House, Public Health Chairman Jeffery Sanchez.
Highlights of Cost Containment Legislation Changes for PAs
- Opposed to specialty certification: 76%
- Agree with specialty certification: 10%
- Neutral or undecided: 14%
- Opposed to changing the name from Physician Assistant to Physician Associate: 41.5%
- In favor of changing the name from Physician Assistant to Physician Associate: 38.5%
- Neutral or undecided: 18.8%
- Opposed to the use of tanning beds by those under the age of eighteen: 89%
- Not-opposed to the use of tanning beds by those under the age of eighteen: 3.8%
- Neutral or undecided: 6.9%
- Support the addition of the HPV vaccine to the routine schedule of vaccinations: 81%
- Opposed to the addition of the HPV vaccine to the routine schedule if vaccinations: 8%
- Neutral or undecided: 11%
What’s next for these legislative changes
The House and the Senate will now appoint three legislators from each branch to work out the differences between the two versions of the bill. Luckily, all of above mentioned provisions are included in both versions of the bill with few differences between them. The main difference, as it relates to PAs, is that the Senate bill establishes the Health Care Workforce Council with PAs included as a member. The House bill does not establish such as council – something the conference committee will surely negotiate.
MAPA is very hopeful that all of these major changes will be in included in the final version of the bill to be sent to the Governor by July 31st for his signature into law!
2012 AAPA House of Delegates Session Summary and MAPA Survey Results
Sean T. Robinson, MS, PA-C
A detailed Summary of Actions is available on the AAPA website (requires AAPA login).
The results of the MAPA survey regarding specialty certification are as follows:
The HOD debate on the value of specialty certification in the physician assistant profession was rather brief; most testimony was in support of an existing AAPA policy that opposed such a credentialing process or an expansion of that policy. A review and update on the AAPA position
paper on this matter was presented and in the end, with this revision in mind, the body agreed to adopt the following amended version of existing policy:
“AAPA is opposed to specialty certification, the use of specialty examinations and certificates of added qualifications, that could reduce the profession’s versatility and flexibility, drastically altering its value to society. Every effort must be made to prevent regulators, employers, thirdparty payers, and others, including PAs from misusing specialty certification, the use of specialty examinations and certifications of added qualifications.”
The position paper explores the many benefits and drawbacks to specialty certification but ultimately concluded that the concept goes against the founding principles of the profession. Additionally, the position paper identified potential problems with acceptance of specialty certification by educators and accrediting bodies claiming that such a move would increase the cost and duration of PA education – something that many PAs would consider the antithesis as to why they chose to become a PA. The NCCPA currently offers certificates of added qualification (CAQ) in a handful of fields. Although it may appear that the AAPA is speaking against the concept of CAQs, in reality, it is simply stating that it is against any specialty credentialing process that reduces the profession’s versatility and flexibility. As such, this policy and accompanying position paper are a call to all employers, regulators, and legislators to not limit the abilities of a PA simply because he or she does not have specialty certification.
The results of the MAPA survey regarding title change of the PA profession are as follows:
A considerable amount of time and effort went into the debate regarding the title change of the Physician Assistant profession. The original agenda contained three resolutions – two from Joseph Faiella-Tommasino, President of the Association of Physician Assistants in Cardiology (APAC), and one from Melinda Moore, Chief Delegate from the Texas Academy of PAs. The two resolutions from APAC were direct requests to change the title of the profession during this HOD session and assign a task force charged with assisting states and constituent organizations (e.g. MAPA) in making the transition to the new title. These two resolutions were withdrawn from the agenda by the author prior to commencement of the HOD and as such, left the House with only the resolution submitted by the Texas Academy. This resolution requested the
formation of a task force to investigate the implications or ramifications of a title change, with a report of their findings due to the House next year. Several hours were spent discussing the necessity of such a task force as well as the potential cost involved. One house member commented on the potential to rack up many thousands of dollars in consulting fees associated with just this task group alone; this would represent a small portion of the projected total costs to change the profession title nationwide as many consulting groups, lobbyists, and other legal experts would need to be engaged in the process of effecting title change in the laws and regulations of each state.
In the end, the house voted to reject the formation of a task force as the cost involved is potentially too high for the AAPA to withstand. Additionally, there was significant “con” testimony to the idea of forming a task force regardless of the cost involved. Of note, the Officers of the House and Board of Directors are responsible for determining the financial feasibility of any project requested by the House. It was mentioned that the likelihood that the request to form a task force would be rejected by the Board of Directors and House Officers
because of the forecasted costs of such a venture.
MAPA members are split pretty evenly down the middle on the issue of a title change. There were varying reasons given in the comments section of the survey as to why we should or should not change the profession title – all seemingly valid and convincing. However, one thing that remains to be answered clearly by anyone, from local members all the way up to the President of the AAPA, is how to go about paying for such a change. Many PAs do not recognize the cost involved in meeting with consulting groups and lobbyists who are essential in effecting changes in the nomenclature used within existing legislation and regulations. For MAPA, we simply do not have the funds to support such efforts. As such, the burden to pay for this change would be wholly on the backs of PAs in the Commonwealth. That is not to suggest that measures could not be taken to make this happen, however, at this time, no attempt at a title change will be made by MAPA nor the AAPA.
The results of the MAPA survey regarding adolescent use of tanning beds is as follows:
The resolution stating AAPA opposition to the use of tanning beds by those under the age of eighteen was adopted without amendment.
The results of the MAPA survey regarding adding HPV to the routine schedule of vaccinations including vaccination of males is as follows:
The resolution stating AAPA support of addition of HPV to the routine schedule of vaccinations including vaccination of males was adopted without amendment.
The Student Corner
Remember PA school? Do you recall the love-hate relationship with studying all night? Working overnights on your Surgery rotation? Making new friends that you’ll never forget? Here are a few anecdotes and updates from current MAPA PA Student Representatives to help jog your memory of that time in your life…
Northeastern University PA Class of 2013 Happenings
Pan Mass Challenge Fundraiser
Two members of the NEU PA Class of 2013, Megan O’Connor and Stephanie McAuley are raising money for Dana Farber Cancer Institute to cycle in this year’s 106 mile Pan Mass Challenge on August 4, 2012. A fundraiser was held June 28th for their ride and the NEU PA Class of 2013 joined the fundraiser in support of Megan and Steph. They are riding in support and in memory of friends and family who have struggled with cancer, including President Elect Pam McColl’s sister-in-law, Caroline Flannery Okrant.
Habitat for Humanity
During the last weekend in June the NEU PA Class of 2013 participated in yet another Habitat for Humanity event. Organized by Leslie Barresi, this was the third Habitat for Humanity event coordinated by NEU PA students this year.MAPA Newsletter, July 2012 7
White Coat Ceremony
Northeastern’s Inaugural White Coat Ceremony will be held Thursday August 9, 2012 for the class of 2013 signifying the end of their didactic year and the beginning of their clinical rotations.
NEU Class of 2012 Says Farewell… and Thanks!
The academic career for the Northeastern PA class of 2012 is quickly coming to an end. After a fun but challenging 24 months, they will be graduating on August 8, 2012. Many of the Northeastern classmates have already registered for the PANCE and have jobs lined up and waiting for them. As this chapter of their lives comes to a close, they are thankful for the opportunities they’ve had in PA school and for the people and friendships that were made along the way.
Emergency Medicine as a First Rotation
Lauren Rousseau, PA-S
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences – Boston
Emergency medicine (EM) is one of the most challenging PA student rotations during the clinical year; I was met with the daunting assignment of EM as my very first rotation. Although it was intimidating to begin my clinical year on rotation in a fast-paced, high-intensity learning environment, I survived. My biggest challenge was taking my knowledge of history and physical examinations and applying it in a problem-focused manner. Sure, I knew what all the tests and signs were, but seeing a patient with a specific complaint and knowing exactly which
tests to do and when to do them was difficult. As the weeks of my EM rotation went on, I learned how to form a better differential and decide what questions and physical exam tests to perform to help specify my diagnosis. A PA’s autonomy depends partly on their experience as a source of broadening their knowledge. As my experience grew in the emergency room, I learned how to take a better history and formulate my physical exam based on that information. I’m confident this will help shape me into the PA that I’ve always wanted to become.
Calling All Questions!
MAPA will host its first Massachusetts Physician Assistant Student Challenge Bowl. This sureto-be fun event will be held at the MAPA Fall CME event in Boston at the Omni Parker House Hotel on Saturday, September 8th at 5:30pm. All Massachusetts PA Programs are invited to
field a team for this fun and exciting conference activity. Please come and cheer on the future PAs of the Commonwealth!
Medical questions are needed! Short answer questions may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. All topics welcome.
Welcome New Board of Directors Members
The MAPA BOD is happy to welcome three new members to the Board. Please join me in saying “hello” to our recent additions.
Catherine Hamel (Director at Large, 2012-2014)
Catherine completed her first undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame and then attended the University of Iowa PA Program where she completed her second degree in 1983. She also finished the Masters of Physician Assistant Studies Program at the University of Nebraska. She has worked for some time at the East Boston Community Health Center as well as in Greater Lawrence. Currently, she works clinically in emergency medicine, chronic disease management, and as a midlevel provider mentor, supporting over 25 primary care NPs and PAs. She is a part-time PA, full-time mom with sons who are now young adults and is now ready to take on some new professional activities. She has been married 24 years to John Hamel, Assistant VP of Enrollment at Suffolk University. Catherine states that she “is looking forward to meeting everyone and hoping to give back to the profession that has given me so much!”
Nancy Hurwitz (Director at Large, 2012-2014)
Nancy Hurwitz is a graduate of the Northeastern PA Program and has been a PA for over 20 years. She is currently an Assistant Professor at MCPHS-Boston and is also working clinically at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in the Pediatric Emergency Department.
Anthony Pellegrino (Director at Large, fill-in appointment for 2011-2013 seat)
Tony obtained a Bachelor of Science at the Florida Institute of Technology, an MBA at Southern New Hampshire University, and an MPAS at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education at Boston University. Tony is an Assistant Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine and Director of Clinical Education at the Tufts University School of Medicine Physician Assistant program. He has served on the faculty of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences PA Program, and most recently, as founding faculty at Bay Path College PA Program in Longmeadow, MA. He works clinically as an emergency medicine PA at St. Elizabeth’s medical center in Boston. He is also a PA for the MA1- DMAT team (Boston) and maintains Paramedic certification, working per-diem for the Town of Billerica, MA EMS. His previous experience was in the biomedical industry as a product manager developing AEDs and cardiac monitors and defibrillators. He is interested in serving on the board as a representative and voice for his colleagues and students in matters of education, ethics, and technology.