Hope everyone if weathering this brutal Winter season. I know we are all anticipating a warm up. In an effort to better and more frequently communicate events and information pertinent to our profession I wanted to take a few minutes of your time to bring all of you up to speed on some information and items that I feel will be of interest and importance to our profession as well as organization.
Although we are anticipating having a fairly “quiet” legislative session in 2014, there are a few bills that we are closely monitoring even though they are not bills we introduced.
HB 1842 - This bill has been introduced by Rep. Fredrick from Rolla, who sponsored our legislation last year. This bill is called the “assistant physician” bill. He has introduced a bill that would give people who graduated medical school, but have not matched for a residency, standing as an “assistant physician” and would give them the ability to practice under a physician but only in an under-served setting. This bill also would make it so that the Board of Healing Arts would promulgate rules for PAs, NPs and assistant physicians, and that the rules would be the same for all three. This bill has not been scheduled for hearing so not sure what kind of traction it will get, but it is out there in case any of you hear about this.
HB 1491 - A bill introduced by the nurses which really seems to define each level of nurse out there. LPN, RN, clinical nurse specialist, APRN, etc. There does not seem to be mention of collaborating agreements in this bill.
HB 1481 - Also introduced from the nurses and more specifically APRNs, this bill maintains the requirement to have a collaborative agreement but changes the requirements of the agreement. No mention of any onsite requirement but rather that the amount of collaboration will be determined by the physician and APRN. The bill mentions that the physician must be available via reliable electronic means. There are also chart review specifications listed. This bill was heard in Senate committee on Feb. 17 and there were 5-6 state physician organizations testifying against this bill. I believe the nurses and MO Hospital Assoc testified in favor. No mention of a committee vote scheduled at this time
MOAPA will closely monitor these bills and will communicate further information as it becomes available.
Lastly on the legislative front, we will be introducing language to remove the wording in our current law regarding “billing patients directly.” Language in our current law has caused some delay in progressing our MO Medicaid provider status. We tried to work this out through MO Medicaid but have not been successful, so we will work with the legislature to have this wording removed from our law which we hope will help facilitate this process. Our lobbyist, Jorgen Schlemeier, has indicated that he will introduce this language change to a bill that is showing movement during the session. This will probably not require a big push from us at this point as we are allowing Jorgen to do what he does which is navigate through the legislative process. This too will be information that will be passed along to all of you as things develop.
PR Update - This past week MOAPA signed an agreement with The Vandiver Group to provide a public relations push for The PA profession in Missouri. This idea was approved by the board and has been communicated to the membership and was met with overwhelming support. We will be working with this group very soon to begin implementing the campaign to help promote the profession in an effort to hopefully improve in the following areas: public awareness, improved job market, and promotion of MOAPA to all of the PAs in the state to help increase membership and involvement. We are very excited about this endeavor and are confident that this will help continue to move the profession forward.
Board of Director Changes - Ashley Schnell resigned from the MOAPA Board of Directors as the SW Director at Large as her family responsibilities have increased and she was concerned about being able to adequately meet the needs of the position. We first want to thank Ashley for all of the time and effort she put into the SW region and secondly, thank Melanie Chisam for accepting my request to be appointed to that position in the interim until elections in July. The SW region is so vibrant and active so thanks to Melanie, there will not be a lapse in leadership in that region. If anyone lives in the SW region and has not heard from Melanie, please reach out to her at email@example.com and give her your contact info.
In addition, Joe Grassino served as our VP for the past few years and has also felt the strong family and job pull and made the difficult decision to resign from the MOAPA board. We want to extend sincere thanks to Joe for the time and effort he also donated to the organization and to the progression of the profession. Johanna Scheussler from the St. Louis area has been gracious enough to accept the appointment as interim VP pending July elections. The VP position is very important to MOAPA as this position is vital in membership retention and growth. If anyone would like to contact Johanna, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark your calendars now for the MOAPA Summer CME in Branson. The dates of the conference are July 17-20, 2014. Registration information will be coming out soon but please make plans to attend as this is a great CME as well as a great chance to support your organization. In addition, if any of you have contacts with individuals willing to give talks or if you have a topic that you are willing to speak on, please reach out to Melanie Chisam and let her know. In addition, if you know anyone who would like to display at the conference, such as a medical device company, pharmaceutical company or any company interested in doing direct person-to-person advertising, again, let Melanie know as this is another great way to support MOAPA. Also, elections will be held during the conference and any current fellow member can run for a board position. Please email Johanna Schuessler with any nominations.
Pre PA Club - I have recently been introduced to a trend that seems to be gaining popularity around the country and that is colleges having “Pre PA” clubs. The University of MO in Columbia has such a club that meets monthly and at times can have 100 people attending. I spoke at their meeting on Feb. 20 and was amazed at the energy these people are putting into pursuing the PA profession. I'm not sure if any other Universities in MO have such an organization but if so, please let us know as we need to do what we can to support and help these people in their pursuit. One of the main items that they expressed to me where they need help is with shadowing opportunities. Now I know all of us get blasted with these but please keep in mind that almost all of the PA schools require shadow hours from these applicants. And in some cases, ridiculous amounts of shadow hours are a requirement. So here is my request, everyone really open your job and your day to allowing someone to shadow, even two times a year!! If everyone participated then the few who do currently will not get blasted with requests. I fully understand the time constraints we all have, the HIPAA hoops out there, etc. But keep in mind, we were all in their position at one time and it may have been a PA who was willing to give you an extra few minutes of their time that helped motivate you or even directly helped you get into PA school. So guess what, PAY BACK TIME!! I gave the group I spoke to last night my word that we would promote the importance of PAs allowing perspective PA students to shadow, so please carefully consider. I encourage all of your to register with www.pashadowonline.com, as this is a great tool that you can use to help schedule shadow time that works best for you as well as put a cap on how many you are willing and able to accommodate. There is a link to this site on the MOAPA website as well.
Lastly, our next MOAPA Board Meeting will be held Saturday, March 1, 10 a.m., at Missouri Baptist Medical Center in St. Louis. All are welcome to attend.
I hope you found this information informative as well as pertinent to your practice or interests. As always, I welcome questions, comments, suggestions about how best to deliver information as well as any way we can improve MOAPA or advance our profession. Thanks.