February 9, 2014
As we begin a new year I want to reflect on what has been accomplished and look forward to where we are headed. Thanks to the painstaking work of Mr. Denni Woodmansee and the VA PA Field Advisory Committee we have a new PA Utilization Directive. This new directive is leaps and bounds ahead of the prior utilization directive. Gone is the term “supervision”! The new directive has PAs collaborating with physicians and practicing with varying degrees of autonomy as part of a team. This reflects how we have been practicing all along. I recently had a teleconference with AAPA and all the Uniformed Services PA leaders to discuss the changes set forth in the new directive and how we could capitalize on “the rising tide”. This new directive has prompted AAPA to look at reworking much of their documentation. Additionally, the Uniformed Services PA leadership is working to incorporate the language from our new directive. What a WIN for our profession! Don’t be surprised if this new directive has a ripple effect on other healthcare professions. As a result of the new utilization directive, the PA PSB at San Antonio met with our Chief of Staff office and we have started rewriting the PA Scope of Practice. I have been tasked to use the utilization directive to write our local policy. I would encourage all of you to read the directive, meet with your service chiefs and chief of staff and lead from the trenches.
For those that have been following the PA Forum, you probably noticed the resurgence of frustration (some would use different expletives here) over the PA-NP pay disparity. This is an issue that VAPAA has been and will continue to push forward. There are basically two roads to travel:
1. We can bombard our elected officials in Congress to put pressure on the Secretary to include PAs in the Nurses Locality Pay System. This would be the easiest and quickest way to start correcting the pay disparity. It likely would not bring total parity but would be a step in the right direction. To do this I need all VA PAs, VAPAA members and none members to become involved by emailing their elected officials and asking them to contact the VA Secretary. I will provide the template and language that I feel would be most effective.
2. We can work with Congress to pass a VA PA Pay reform bill much like the VA Nurses did with the Nursing Pay Act of 1990. I believe this path will be the longest and hardest, especially when you consider that Congress is unable to agree on anything and has passed very few bills of any real substance over the past several years. I’m sure they would disagree with me that but I do have freedom of speech.
I think we can travel both paths, at least for the foreseeable future.
VAPAA will be the guests of the Society of Army PAs (SAPA) at their annual conference, 28 April through 2 May 2014, please plan on attending. During the SAPA Conference, we will have our Annual Board of Directors and General Membership meetings along with quality CME and you can visit with old friends and make some new ones.
VAPAA Elections are just around the corner. The offices of President and Vice President as well and three (3) Directors will be on the ballot for 2014-2016. Please consider becoming more intimately involved in your organization.
We are in the final stretch of a much needed and long overdue Bylaws revision which will return power to the members. Thanks to Rubina, Mike, and Denni for all the hard work!
Jim Cavanaugh, 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.