The President’s Letter
I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the offices of Senators Brown and Kerry and Representative Capuano a few weeks ago in the Nation’s Capital. I was there to advocate for the PA profession and lobby for legislation that would capitalize on the abilities of PAs to deliver effective and efficient health care. Among the bills I discussed with staff members from these offices was one that would allow for PAs to see and bill for services rendered to hospice patients. Unfortunately, due to oddly worded, out of date legislation, PAs are not recognized as billable providers for any form of care to patients covered under the Medicare hospice benefit. Despite all the progress the PA profession has made in its 45 year history, there still exist these frustrating policy challenges that limit our abilities to provide timely and effective health care. Enter PA Week and the chance to spread the word.
PA Week was the perfect opportunity to reach out to PAs and other health care providers in an attempt to educate them on the challenges that still face the profession. Although advances like the recently passed Massachusetts Health Cost Containment bill will greatly enhance usage of PAs in the Commonwealth, problems such as hospice reimbursement continue to restrain our potential. PA Week was the perfect opportunity to take my experience at Capitol Hill and relate the challenges that we face as a profession to those working in the field. It is my intent to build relationships with lawmakers and PAs so that I can help translate the needs to those who can affect change. This can only happen through dialogue with PAs on their home turf and visits to the state house in Boston and the Capitol in Washington D.C.
In the closing days of PA Week 2012, I had the good fortune to hear Ruth Ballweg, PA-C speak to students of a local PA program. Her story is one of strength and belief in the PA profession and it shows in all that she has achieved in her career. Her efforts to enhance and legitimize the very title physician assistant encourages me and all those she reaches to strive to earn more for this profession. It makes me very happy to see her engaging an audience of young future PAs, inspiring them with words of encouragement and belief in the profession that she helped to become what it is today. Being a good clinician is only the start; affecting change requires building relationships with other supporters and open dialogue with detractors. Ruth Ballweg has managed all of these tasks of the PA profession and she is a source of inspiration to me and others interested in helping PAs reach their maximum potential.
Finally, I must thank the American Academy of Physician Assistants for organizing the lobbying efforts that took place in September. Their guidance and support is responsible for shaping the future of the PA profession and constituent organizations like MAPA.
Sean T. Robinson, MS, PA-C
PA Students and MAPA Board Celebrate PA Week!
Cathy Hamel, PA-C
Director at Large, Chair of the Newsletter Committee
To celebrate PA Week which occurs every year from October 6 to 12, Northeastern University PA students provided PA advocacy to local students at the Community Academy of Science and Health High School as well as at Boston Latin Academy. The NEU PA students provided a unique product called Dental Hygiene in a Box which issued oral health education to students enrolled at these schools. Additionally, these students conducted a food drive and a bone marrow donor drive in an effort to better the lives of others while at the same time spreading knowledge of the PA profession.
Students from the PA program at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Manchester/Worcester campus set up an information table on campus to educate other students about the PA profession and MAPA. On hand, besides their eagerness to enlighten
Meanwhile, students at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Boston campus staffed an information table at the West Roxbury VA Hospital and gave an award to VA employee Laura Stonestreet, PA-C for her service and commitment to PA education and the PA profession. MCPHS Boston students received a special PA Week treat on Thursday, October 11th when guest speaker Ruth Ballweg, PA-C, long known for her contributions to the profession, spoke about her professional journey as a PA. Mrs. Ballweg received the 2012 AAPA Eugene A. Stead Award of Achievement in recognition for what she has done for the profession.
MAPA board members were busy as well, staffing information tables at several area hospitals. The Lahey Clinic, Mount Auburn Hospital, Newton Wellesley Hospital, Saint Vincent Hospital, Tufts Medical Center, and the UMass Memorial Medical Center all had MAPA board members distributing information about the PA profession and MAPA at various times during PA Week. MAPA was happy to greet PA colleagues in these institutions as well as inform the lay public as to the benefits of the PA profession.
MAPA Has a Face in Social Media
Bianca Belcher, MPAS, PA-C
Chair of Public Relations and Social Media Committee
Join MAPA in the social media hemisphere through one of our three new platforms: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Find links to these accounts at the MAPA website.
Heather Trafton, MBA, PA-C
Director at Large, Chair of the Legislative and Regulatory AffairsCommittee
There is ongoing work regarding implementation of the recent state health care legislation. The MAPA legislative team continues to work closely with the state house and the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Physician Assistants to push forward! Stay tuned for specific
information regarding credentialing for insurers and other updates for your daily practice.
CME Sessions Update
Sean Robinson, MS, PA-C
The recent MAPA Fall CME event was a resounding success. With over 200 PAs in attendance, this event proved to be the best turnout we have had for a CME meeting in quite some time. Many conference attendees as well as other PAs showed up for the PA social mixer which was
scheduled in conjunction with the conference. At that event, PA colleagues mingled on the top floor of the Omni Parker House with views of the Boston skyline and awaited results of a collection of raffle items – such as free attendance at the Spring CME Event, one of two New
England gift baskets, and a Kindle Fire. MAPA wishes to thank Jay Chamberlain of Chamberlain Medical Resources, Inc. for helping to organizing the conference.
Plans for the Spring CME event are already underway. To be held on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, MA, this event will satisfy the pharmacology CME requirements mandated by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Physician Assistants. Check the MAPA website in early December to register for this conference.
Julie Purcell, PA-C
Immediate Past President, Chair Membership Committee
MAPA now has over 300 active fellow members and more than 100 student members bringing our total member population to over 400. These are great numbers and we’re thrilled to have so many on board with us. But, our work is not done there. At over 2,400 licensed PAs in the Commonwealth, MAPA has only one in eight PAs as an active member. We know we can do better than that and it’s our goal in the upcoming months to reach out to non-members or lapsed members and see what we can do to attract their interest. If you know of anyone that was a member and has decided not to renew, please tell them to contact MAPA and tell us why – we want to make MAPA work for every member but we can’t do that without feedback to improve the organization. And if you know a PA who hasn’t joined before, tell them the benefits of membership. Thank you for your support!
Heather Trafton Presented Award
Pam McColl, PA-C
Heather Trafton was the recipient of a MAPA award honoring her many years of hard work and dedication on laws improving the practice of Massachusetts Physician Assistants. She has tirelessly advocated legislatively on behalf of all Massachusetts PAs for close to a decade. The
award was presented to her on September 6, 2012 at the MAPA CME Fall Event during a reception celebrating the recent legislative advances to affordable healthcare in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
MAPA Regional Meeting Coming to Springfield
Anthony Pellegrino, MPAS, PA-C
Director at Large
On Wednesday, November 14th, MAPA will hold a regional meeting at Bay Path College, home to the Commonwealth’s most recently opened and 5th PA program. Members and non-members alike are invited to attend this informative and social event. Bring questions for MAPA board members or just come and meet your PA colleagues from around the state. Information on what MAPA is doing to enhance the PA profession in the Commonwealth will be made available and board members will be on hand to answer your questions. Details for the meeting are as follows:
When: November 14, 2012 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Where: Bay Path College, Empsall Hall, 588 Longmeadow St, Longmeadow, MA 01106
Directions to the campus can be found on the Bay Path website.