As 2013 comes to a close I felt this was a good opportunity to send out an update on all things MOAPA-related. It has always been my belief that I did not want to overload the membership with endless emails and it is better to wait until there is something significant to report. But, as I compile the items that need to be communicated, I realized it was longer than I had anticipated and I have also received feedback from members requesting more frequent updates. So therefore, I will make every effort in 2014 to do more frequent updates, even if they are very brief, to make sure that the lines of communication are as open as possible within the manpower constraints that we have. My goal will be monthly or every other at the least. Thank you to the members who have expressed this desire for more frequent communication; we will heed your request! Now for the latest activity and updates:
MO Medicaid Update - This has been a bit slower moving than I had anticipated. If you recall from previous updates, there were questions regarding language in the current PA statute regarding PAs billing patients directly and this was called into question by MO Medicaid. We have submitted a legal opinion and are still waiting for a ruling from their General Counsel. In the meantime, there has been another director change at MO HealthNet which has thrown another monkey wrench/delay into the process. But rest assured, we are diligently working on trying to push this through and I know many of you are carefully monitoring this as it directly impacts your practices as well as future PA employment opportunities. In the next few weeks, Jorgen hopes to be meeting with the new director who is assuming the duties mid-December. More to follow.
Elections - Elections for MOAPA Board of Directors will be held at the Summer CME Conference in July 2014. Any current fellow member may run for any board position. I will be working on a list of duties for each position to better give anyone considering a board position an idea of what the duties may entail. Having a board position is the best way to be involved in the decisions that help shape the organization and impact the profession throughout the state. Previous knowledge or experience is not required. All that is needed is a desire to be involved and work to move the profession and MOAPA forward. Please consider. If you have questions about any specific position beyond what is defined on the website, please feel free to reach out to me directly and I will try and help clarify.
Membership Process Change - In an attempt to make joining and renewing an easier process for the individual members as well as the organization, we now have the option of automatic renewal when joining or renewing. If you choose the recurring dues option, your membership will automatically renew, avoiding the possibility of lapsing without knowing. If you have any questions about this process, email Whitney Bertram at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are hoping this is a welcomed addition to the membership process.
Branson CME - Mark your calendars for the 2014 MOAPA Summer CME which is scheduled for July 17-20, 2014. This is a great, reasonably-priced CME which is also another way to support your state organization. The 2013 conference was a huge success and there were some exciting changes that were implemented so we are hoping to springboard from the 2013 success and make 2014 even more successful. Save the date!
District Map - Eric Johnson, Mid MO Director at Large (DAL), has created a map of Missouri that divides up the MOAPA regions by county. This is available on the website. If you are not sure what MOAPA region you reside in, this map should help clarify. Anyone is welcome to attend any MOAPA function regardless of region but it is important to know your region to be able to identify who your DAL is and be dialed into the events in your area.
BOHA PA Commission - The Missouri Board of Healing Arts (BOHA) PA Commission is looking for two PAs to serve. To complete an application, a very extensive application, go to boards.mo.gov and search for PA Commission.
Pre-PA Groups - At the last board meeting, we were introduced to new concept that is popping up on college campuses throughout the state: Pre-PA Groups. We received a presentation from someone who formed one at University of MO-Columbia and at his first meeting he had 50 people show up and the second it grew to greater than 75. Other schools are also forming these. We are looking to work with these groups to provide informational resources, shadowing opportunities and just be a resource to answer any questions they may have. The board found this to be very exciting so if you encounter any of these groups please try and help them in whatever manner you can.
Public Relations Proposal - Collectively, we are all still very happy with the legislative victories we enjoyed this past Spring/Summer. The bills that we passed were truly profession changing in Missouri. However, it appears that this the communication of these changes to our laws has not really gotten out to the masses, i.e. employers, as we had hoped. Therefore, I don’t believe any of us have seen the “job needle” move appreciably in the direction we would have hoped and quite frankly need. Therefore, the board has investigated hiring a PA firm to professionally and aggressively market our profession to potential employers. This coming right on the heels of this monumental legislation passage. And when we say employers, the goal is to leave no stone unturned. We want to all provide quality patient care but we need to be employed to do that and I am assuming we would all be in agreement on this. The organization does not have the resources to effectively accomplish this, so this is why the concept of hiring a PR firm came to light. We are still in the preliminary stages of this proposal as this will NOT be an inexpensive undertaking. We must therefore really examine the finances of MOAPA, see what we are able to afford, and then evaluate if we have enough financial resources to go ahead with this. The frustrating thing is that we have more than enough “people” resources in the state to afford this but we are trying to do this by having 225 people carry the water for nearly 900! The board members that attended the strategy planning session with the PR firm left very motivated and excited to want to move forward with this as it is not a "want" but really a "need." Between SLU and MSU, they are graduating over 60 PAs this week. If even half of them want to stay in Missouri, does anyone know of 30+ jobs out there? We must do something different as we are all familiar with the definition of insanity. Take this as another call to action to seek out, dialogue and encourage your friends and colleagues who are not members to join and help this organization continue to move the PA profession forward. We have great momentum but we need resources to keep it going.
Membership - This was mentioned above, but to add on to that, a membership drive will be commencing in the early part of 2014 as we are compiling lists to try and identify who and where the PAs are located who are not members so we can reach out to them and encourage their membership. Maybe they just don’t know how to access us so we will take the message to them. If you know of any PAs that are not members, please invite them to a regional event, encourage them to contact a board member if they are unsure of why they should join or if they have any questions at all. We need all hands on deck to truly experience maximum success.
Thank you for talking the time to read though this extensive but important list of updates. I hope you find the information useful and as always, if you have any questions about something you read or have suggestions, please feel free to contact me directly either by email or call me. The MOAPA Board of Directors want to wish everyone a happy Holiday Season!