June 2, 2013
Greetings to all that may read this,
It’s been a busy quarter and I want to update you on a few things.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. I would offer that it takes a dedicated community to run and organization like VAPAA. I thank all, past, present and future for that dedication.
I want to recognize Col (Ret) Joe Streff; VAPAA Treasurer, Webmaster, Conference Chair 2012 and almost 2013, and friend for his many years of dedicated service in and out of uniform, as well as holding almost every position on the VAPAA Board of Directors and Officers. Joe will retire soon and we wish him God speed and fair winds. He will be missed! He leaves a void in the organization, however I am sure there are many talented energetic individuals out there who will step up to the challenge.
A “shout out” to Audrey for her hard work and dedication, thanks for keeping us moving forward.
Special thanks to Bob Kunath for managing the VAPAA Store, being Co-Webmaster and not fading away after retirement.
There have been some early turnovers of positions due to unexpected life circumstances. Many thanks to Amy Lauer and Jess Forte for your selfless service. I hope to work with you in the future!
VAPAA elections are in full swing. Expect to see ballots very soon. Please return them in a timely manner.
Even though we had to cancel the 2013 Conference we have continued with the VAPAA Awards program. Again this year we received many nominations for outstanding PAs. I feel that EVERY VA PA deserves recognition for the outstanding care they provide to our nations Veterans’. That said, I want to recognize Russ Callender from Houston as the PA Leadership Award winner and Laura Hart from Salem as the Outstanding Clinical PA for 2013. In addition to beautiful awards they can display for all to see, they will receive a $500 monetary award as well as a $500 donation in their name to the charity of their choice.
An update on AAPA and the House of Delegates. Sandy Goodstein, Director at large, and I represented VAPAA at the 2013 House of Delegates meeting 25-27 May 2013. We addressed the concern that the AAPA Board of Directors appears to have lost touch with the rank and file PA. Of interest is that about 7.5% of eligible PAs voted for the current leadership of VAPAA. I personally addressed the insular and isolationist message this send to PAs in the trenches. More to come…..
Sandy Goodstein and I also visited Capitol Hill and met with the Senate and House VA Committees and Veterans Services Organizations to discuss the following issues.
1. The need for PA pay reform was at the top of our agenda. There are two ways to achieve our goal. One is by far easier. The inclusion of PAs in the Locality Pay Systems would mandate annual salary surveys and can be accomplished without legislation. This idea was supported by both the Senate and House VA Committee staffers. We also planted the seed for long term PA specific pay schedules and will continue to push for this. We’re drafting a PA Pay and Compensation bill and will build support. This will likely take a few years but will not give up the fight!
2. We also discussed CME funding at length. I’m not sure we will make much headway on this given the current fiscal climate. We will continue to push for funding equal to Physicians given we have similar CME requirements. This will be included in the PA Pay and Compensation bill.
3. The need for permanent staff for the Director of Physician Assistant Services. Mr. Woodmansee has been in office going on two years and still doesn’t have his own staff. Everyone we talked with found this unacceptable! How can anyone be fully effective without support staff? We all need to communicate this message!
4. PA name recognition! It dawned on me that almost every time anyone discusses healthcare delivery Physicians and NPs are discussed by name. I’m not sure if PAs are lumped in with Docs or NPs but I thinks it’s about damn time PAs are specifically mentioned. Interestingly, the staffers for the Senate and House VA Committees agreed that they should be bringing up PAs as part of the solutions
VAPAA is undertaking a Bylaws review. VAPAA is a member organization and the current bylaws appear to me to restrict member governance. I pledge to change that. You are the members (me too) and you should have the power to direct the organization. The officers and board serve at your discretion!
VAPAA is searching for a newsletter editor. It’s been too long since we had a newsletter and accept full responsibility. Let’s change that. You all have stuff to contribute so let’s get back on track.
Thanks for all you do every day and thanks for your membership!
Jim Cavanaugh, MPAS, PA-C
Physicians prefer PAs in two separate polls
AAPA 18 July 2013
Healthcare staffing company Jackson Healthcare recently released its annual report, "Filling the Void: 2013 Physician Outlook and Practice Trends." The report found that PAs were the providers that physicians most preferred working alongside, with 35 percent preferring PAs — up from 31 percent last year.
Additionally, an informal survey in the July 2013 issue of The Hospitalist found that physicians in hospital medicine believe PAs are the most helpful coworkers for hospitalists. The survey ranked PAs first out of five possible answers.