Visits to the Stead Center are by appointment only. Please call the NCAPA office for more information. Read More »

Visits to the Stead Center are by appointment only. Please call the NCAPA office for more information. Read More »

The Pulse | August 2013

In this issue:
President’s Message: Don Metzger, PA-C
New Graduates: Dissecting Medical Malpractice Insurance
Each One Reach One: Member Recruitment for 2014
2013 Summer Conference: Just Around the Corner
Coming Soon: Recertification Conference
Public Health Seeking Reports of Acute Pesticide Illness and Injury
PAPA Fall Seminar
Student Leadership Retreat
Upcoming Leadership Workshops
PAEC: Join the One-Hour Campaign


President’s Message

By Don Metzger, PA-C

We all know that the physician assistant profession is a vital and growing one. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that PAs will be the second fastest growing profession in the next decade. Last year in North Carolina there were almost 6,000 PAs in clinical practice. We now have seven physician assistant programs at universities across North Carolina, including the most recent program at Elon University that welcomed its inaugural class this year, and there are more in the planning stages. These programs graduate almost 350 PAs a year.

NCAPA has over 600 student members this year. We recognize them as a vital resource to help inform the direction of the Academy. The programs that we offer specifically for students are some of our most popular, such as the Student Leadership Retreat and the Student Challenge Bowl. In the last issue of The Pulse, we had an article geared toward our student members about making sure they have their licenses from the North Carolina Medical Board before beginning to practice. In this issue, there is an article about malpractice insurance that new graduates are sure to find helpful.

For those of us who have been practicing a while, let’s ask ourselves if we know someone who is just starting their PA education, experiencing the adventure of clinical rotations, or about to graduate in a few months and embark on an exciting new career, and let’s reach out to them as mentors and colleagues.  I look forward to meeting some of those students myself when I speak to the incoming class at Methodist University later this month. You can be sure I will tell them about the importance of being members of their professional association as they start on their journey.


New Graduates: Dissecting Medical Malpractice Insurance

By Sola Ogunniyi, PA-C, Government Affairs Committee Member

Medical malpractice insurance can often seem a mystery to new graduates. Most new graduates know that it needs to be obtained but understand very little about it. You need to have it because as a provider you can get sued; it is not only physicians who get sued. Also, a provider can get sued for ANY reason whether or not they made an error, which would cost money; so you must protect yourself.

So, what is medical malpractice insurance? This is insurance obtained by a health care professional against claims of medical negligence. This is usually provided by your employer, who pays the premium. Some PAs have been in situations where they were told that their supervising physician is covered, so that automatically ensures coverage for the PA. That is not true. Do not begin to see patients before you have your certificate of coverage in hand with your name on it as the insured. If you work as an independent contractor, most times the practice will provide you coverage; again ensure you discuss this during the hiring process.

It is important to complete the application form in its entirety and to the best of your knowledge. Keep a copy of all applications and certificates for your records and for as long as you are still practicing; you never know when you will need to refer to them.

What’s in your policy? Understand what your policy specifies. Usually the “individual limit” is the most that will be paid for any one claim,  and the  “aggregate limit” is the most that will be paid in any policy year for all claims. So if your policy specifies limits of $1M/$3M it means that it will provide a maximum of $1M per claim and $3M for all claims during that policy term.

What are the forms of malpractice insurance? “Claims made” and “Occurrence” are the basic forms of medical malpractice insurance.  The former continues to provide coverage for new claims even after cancellation; the latter is the opposite so there is no coverage for new claims after cancellation unless “tail coverage” is provided.

What is tail coverage?  Tail coverage allows an insured to report new claims after cancellation of the policy; however, it can be very expensive. If you change jobs and your previous employer did not offer tail coverage, the new insurance company may require that you purchase tail coverage before they agree to cover you under the new policy. It is very important to inquire during the hiring process if your employer offers tail coverage. If they do not, be aware that you may have to pay several hundred dollars for tail coverage depending on the insurance company your new employer uses.

It is also worth considering obtaining your own individual malpractice coverage.  The annual premium is about $1200 for the first year and $4000 for “mature” (usually after the fourth year). Some companies that offer coverage for Physician Assistants include HPSO, which offers special discounts to NCAPA members and CM&F Group, Inc. (PA Protect®). For more information and quotes, visit these links:,

The NCAPA is here to help you with any questions you may have. Phone 919.479.1995; email


Each One Reach One: Membership Recruitment for 2014

Word-of-mouth is the best advertising! That’s why NCAPA members are the most powerful recruitment tool we have for attracting new members to our organization.

This year from August 21 through November 30, the “Each One Reach One” campaign offers you the incentive of a $10 Starbucks gift card when you convince a colleague or friend to join NCAPA as a 2014 new member.

Lest we be accused of encouraging excessive caffeine consumption, there is a one-per-member limit on the Starbucks gift cards. Nevertheless, we encourage you to recruit multiple new members! Come 2014, all “Each One Reach One” recruiters will be acknowledged in the Pulse.

Questions? Contact any member of the Membership Committee, or Lee Busselman, Member Services Coordinator.


37th Annual Summer Conference is Just Around the Corner!

August 18 – 23, 2013 ~ Kingston Plantation Embassy Suites ~ Myrtle Beach, SC

It’s Not Too Late to Register! 40+ Hours of CME* for PAs, NPs, and ATCs!

*The Physician Assistant Review Panel is pleased to announce that a total of 65 hours of AAPA Category 1 CME credit will be presented at the 37th Annual NCAPA Summer Conference provided by the North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants. Conference attendees can select from sessions to earn a maximum of 41 hours of Category 1 CME credit.

Coming Soon . . .

28th Annual Recertification Exam Review Conference

February 23-28, 2014 – Sheraton Imperial Hotel – Durham, NC

The content is geared 100% toward PANRE Review. The agenda is based on the NCCPA PANRE exam blueprint and will be a basic review of all organ systems. Look for details in registration materials regarding our money-back guarantee. Registration opens in September at


Public Health Seeking Reports of Acute Pesticide Illness and Injury

Your help is needed. The North Carolina Division of Public Health, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, wants to learn more about how pesticide use may affect those who live and work in our state. Public Health is tracking acute pesticide-related illness and injury because pesticides are designed to be toxic agents, use is widespread and over-exposures can result in both acute and long-term effects if products are not handled as directed.

Who is at risk? EPA reports that large quantities of conventional pesticides are used in agriculture and in homes; almost three-fourths of United States households use pesticides (1). Populations at highest risk include the elderly, children, and those engaged in agricultural activities such as farmworkers, pesticide handlers (often farmworkers who work under an applicator’s license), and pesticide applicators on and off the farm.

How to report? We are asking healthcare providers to report all suspected or confirmed cases of acute pesticide illness or injury to the North Carolina Pesticide Incident Surveillance Program.  North Carolina public health law (10A NCAC 41F .0101 – .0103) requires physicians to report. Physician Assistants, nurses, and other health care providers, under direction of the treating provider, can also report.  Reporting is easy. Call Carolinas Poison Center (CPC) 24/7, at 800.222.1222. Poison control specialists have been trained to ask questions that will fulfill reporting requirements. Advice regarding recognition and treatment of pesticide illness is also available from CPC. Please call the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch with questions at 919.707.5900.

The benefit to your patients and Public Health? Receiving information from physicians and other healthcare providers is an important first step in the pesticide surveillance process. Reporting ensures that incidents are recorded and investigated.   When Public Health learns about an occupational exposure or a serious exposure that occurs at home, that person is offered exposure prevention advice.  Interviews are also conducted to identify factors contributing to harmful exposures. Surveillance data is periodically analyzed and shared with those engaged in risk reduction activities.

(1)  Grube  et al, 2011.  Pesticide Industry Sales and Usage; 2006 and 2007 Market Estimates.  Washington D.C.:U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 



Are you using the new Medicaid Management Information System?  For information on getting started, Medicare crossover claims, taxonomy codes, and more, visit the NCTracks website at  NCAPA is interested in learning about your experiences with NCTracks, credentialing and prescription filling. Please contact and let us know what is going on across the state.


PAPA Fall Seminar

The Piedmont Association of Physician Assistants is offering a FREE Fall Seminar on Saturday, September 21, at the Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem. Registration opened July 15. This conference will provide six hours of Category I CME approved by the AAPA, and is open to all Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners. The conference will consist of six one hour-lectures, breakfast, snacks, lunch, and access to multiple exhibitors. Please direct any and all questions to PAPA Information.


Student Leadership Retreat

NCAPA and SAAAPA cordially invite all North Carolina PA students to attend the fourth annual NCAPA Student Leadership Retreat on November 2, 2013. This retreat is designed by the student representatives who serve on NCAPA’s board, and is geared specifically to  the unique concerns of PA students about to enter the profession. Students should mark their calendars now; they will receive registration information early this fall. For more information, contact Lee Busselman, NCAPA Member Services Coordinator.


Upcoming Leadership Workshops
By Alisha DeTroye, PA-C

Are you uncertain how to best get more involved in NCAPA or your local PA organization? Are you a new PA graduate who would like to get your feet wet in a leadership position? Have you served in PA leadership for years and need some new ideas? Then you’ll want to save the date of September 7 for PA Leadership Boot Camp. The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day at the Stead Center, 1121 Slater Road, Durham.

This program has been reviewed and is approved for a maximum of 5.00 hours of AAPA Category 1 CME credit by the Physician Assistant Review Panel. Physician assistants should claim only those hours actually spent participating in the CME activity. This program was planned in accordance with AAPA’s CME Standards for Live Programs and for Commercial Support of Live Programs.

There will also be a Regional Chapter Workshop for current Regional Chapter Leaders and those who want to get more involved in regional PA organizations on Sunday, September 8.

Through my involvement in the NCMS Leadership College, I’m organizing these two events for the fall. If you are interested in participating, please email me ( and I’ll send you updates as they become available.


PAEC One-Hour Campaign: Give A Little, Help A Lot

Be an active contributor to your PAEC!  Advocacy is a dynamic and on-going process. It doesn’t start or stop on Election Day. We advocate for our profession throughout the year to develop and enhance our legislative relationships.

Join the Campaign: Please consider contributing to the PAEC. Donating just one hour of your salary each year can have a huge impact on your professional practice throughout your career. Please challenge your colleagues to do the same and help champion the goals of the PAEC. Please help preserve, strengthen and expand the PA practice in North Carolina!