2019 PA Day at the NC Legislature
By Caroline Griswold, NCAPA Program Coordinator
The day started with a crash course on legislative advocacy, presented by NCAPA Executive Director Emily Adams and Sarah Wolfe, NCAPA Government Affairs Consultant and Lobbyist. Emily and Sarah discussed the importance of advocacy in the PA profession as well as the “Dos and Don’ts” of a successful meeting. The group was then joined by Tracy Zimmerman, Director of External Affairs for the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Zimmerman presented background information and updates on healthcare legislation in NC to prepare the group for questions that could arise in their meetings.
The participants then traveled to the NC Legislative Offices to begin their meetings with state representatives and senators. The primary goals of these meetings were to:
- Inform legislators about the PA profession;
- Advocate for PAs to be specifically recognized in applicable healthcare legislation;
- Advocate for updates to the Medical Practice Act
- Encourage legislators to not repeal the law requiring helmet use when operating a motorcycle
Happily, the attempt to repeal the law requiring a helmet was defeated before NCAPA arrived, so the group was able to focus primarily on helping legislators understand why PAs need to be specified as healthcare providers in new legislation.
Sarah Wolfe did a wonderful job organizing the meetings, and NCAPA members were able to speak directly with over 20 senators and representatives with constituents from Cherokee to Beaufort.
The day ended with a session at the NC House where PAs were recognized by the legislators for their work in North Carolina.
Overall, the day was very successful for all involved. Many PAs reported that the legislators were quite knowledgeable about the profession and wanted to support legislation that would benefit PAs and their patients. Afterwards, those who participated in PA Day sent follow-up emails to the legislators to thank them for their time and remind them to support PAs in upcoming sessions.
Moving forward, representatives from NCAPA will continue to meet with legislators to protect PA scope of practice and prescriptive authority and improve access to healthcare for all North Carolinians.
Thank you to everyone who participated – we look forward to another successful PA Day at the NC Legislature in 2020!
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