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 | December 2014

In this issue:
President’s Message


Ending One Year and Beginning a New


The Legacy of Lanny Parker


NCAPA Endowment Regional Chapter CME Grant Online


Register by December 31st and Save! Recertification Exam Review Conference


Help NCAPA Shape our Educational Offerings


Commercial Driver Medical Examiner Training DVDs Available!


FW NC PEA Update


Billing for Behavioral Health


ACA Marketplace is Open!


Student Survey: Previous Health Care Experience


NKDEP Releases New Guide


CDC Warns About Drifted Influenza A (H3N2)



Charlene MorrisPresident’s Message

 by Charlene M. Morris, DFAAPA, MPAS, PA-C

December is the end of our year and also the final month of my presidency with NCAPA. It has been an eventful year, with two successful conferences, a viable strategic plan in place, and perhaps most importantly, NCAPA now has a dedicated person to watch for any and all legislative activities that impact PAs in our state.

NC has over 4000 practicing PAs, yet only a fraction are members of NCAPA. In addition to providing conferences and opportunities for involvement and leadership, we MUST continue to be aware of what governmental edicts may impact us either positively or negatively.  If you have not, please join for 2015. Also, make certain you ask friends and colleagues to likewise become members.

Looking nationally in 2015, the AAPA Leadership and Advocacy Summit will be in held in early March in Alexandria, Virginia and the AAPA Annual Conference will be held in May in San Francisco. I hope many of you may have the opportunity to attend either or both of these inspiring events.

It has been a genuine pleasure to serve NCAPA as president this past 12 months.  NCAPA has several strong leaders in the wings. Marc Katz and then Wanda Hancock will be our 2015 and ’16 presidents, respectively. Their enthusiasm and verve is heartening.

Sincerely, I wish you all an enjoyable 2014 holiday season and the very best for 2015!

The woods are lovely, dark and deep

But I have promises to keep,   

And miles to go before I sleep,   

And miles to go before I sleep.

–Robert Frost

Charlene M. Morris, PA-C


Ending One Year and Beginning a New

by Wanda Hancock, PA-C, Membership Committee Chair

It’s beginning to look a lot like the end of the membership year…but the bells ringing are telling us there’s more work to do!

NCAPA has become the best PA organization in the country. We enjoy the best practice environment of any other state in the country.  This is all due to our PAs becoming involved, joining NCAPA, and becoming active members of the organization.  The successes that we are so fortunate to be a part of will only prevail in the future if we continue to respond rapidly to the changing healthcare environment around us. We can only do that as long as you, the PAs of NC who work daily in this environment, help NCAPA in leading the way.

Did you know that only about 27% of the PAs licensed and living in North Carolina are currently members of NCAPA?  We would love to increase that number to 50% so that we can continue to represent the vast majority of PAs in the state.  We want to be the voice of all PAs in North Carolina, to be your voice. But we need your continued support to do so.

Last year, our membership committee realized that many non-renewing members had no idea that their dues had not been paid.  Often times, they were under the impression that they were not due until it was time to register for a conference.  We discovered this by calling many of our members and letting them know that their membership had lapsed.  These calls were made after two renewal notices, emails, and reminders in The Pulse.  I share this with you to convey that we really want you to continue your membership with us; the message should be clear.  We need you!

As we prepare to begin the New Year, we hope to do so with all of our resources on board.  You are our most valuable resource.  I urge you to check your membership status and make sure your dues are paid.  Encourage a fellow PA to join!  We have exciting plans for 2015 and we hope that more PAs in North Carolina can take advantage of all that NCAPA has to offer.

Thank you for your continued support.  We are grateful to have all of you as members and wish you the best of holidays.

To renew your membership online, please visit our website.


The Legacy of Lanny Parker

by Alisha DeTroye, PA-C, Endowment Fund Sub-Committee Chair

The legacy of a PA friend and colleague lives on through the Lanny Parker Memorial Fund.  This fund was originally established in 2004 to support PA and PA student education in coding and reimbursement.  In addition to Lanny’s expertise in these areas he was also an avid supporter of PA leadership and advocacy.  The Endowment Trustees recently voted to expand the mission of this fund to expand the reach of Lanny Parker’s memory.

The Endowment is now accepting applications until January 15th for any PA or PA student who desires grant funding for organizing initiatives or attending events which focus on health care economics, advocacy or leadership development.  For further details on the Lanny Parker Memorial Fund and how to apply, please visit our website. The Endowment also appreciates tax-deductible donations to this fund to continue educating and developing PA leaders.


NCAPA Endowment Regional Chapter CME Grant Online

You can now apply online for the NCAPA Endowment Regional Chapter CME Grant In Memory of Mark Sizemore and Mandy Dozier.  The fund was established to support continuing medical education programs designed for physician assistants.  You can find further information and how to apply on our website.


Register by December 31st and Save!

29th Annual NCAPA Recertification Exam Review Conference

Sheraton Imperial Hotel & Convention Center
February 23-27, 2015
Durham, NC

Join us for the 29th Annual NCAPA Recertification Exam Review Conference. Continuing education credits will be awarded to Physician Assistants, Nurses, and Athletic Trainers.

Win an iPad!  All registrations that are received and paid for by December 31, 2014 will be eligible for our drawing which will take place on Monday, January 6, 2015.

The conference agenda is based on the NCCPA PANRE exam blueprint and will be geared 100% toward a basic review of all organ systems. Even if you are not up for recertification or don’t take the PANRE, this conference is a wonderful basic review of all organ systems for any health care provider.  The full agenda with speakers can be viewed here.

NEW for 2015! BLUEprint PANRE Pre-Test Live!  This two-evening workshop consists of a BLUEprint PANRE Pre-test that is administered live with John Bielinski, MS, PA-C and Robert Baye, MS, PA-C. This PANRE Pre-test is taken live with an audience response system (answered anonymously from your seat) with each question reviewed and dissected. Robert Baye is the former chairman for the PACKRAT committee and understands the psychology of test writers. Seats are strictly limited due to the number of audience response units – a wait list will be available when seats are filled.

NCAPA plans to request 34 hours of AAPA Category 1 CME credit for the general sessions and 12 hours in workshops from the PA Review Panel.  The total number of credit hours is yet to be determined.

The Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center has reserved a block of rooms for NCAPA conference attendees.  Conference rates are available for all reservations booked for the conference before January 27, 2015, or while availability lasts.

For hotel reservations, click here or call (919) 941-5050.


Help NCAPA Shape our Educational Offerings

NCAPA is considering offering hands-on, clinical skills workshops at the Eugene A. Stead Center for Physician Assistants, in Durham, NC.  Please take the brief survey below to let us know what topics would be most useful to you.  We are also considering offering professional development seminars on non-clinical topics such as contract negotiation, and networking opportunities across the state.  YOUR input is needed so we can meet YOUR needs.  Please take two minutes to answer a few questions.  Thanks!

Access the survey here.


Commercial Driver Medical Examiner Training DVDs Available! 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) now requires all medical examiners who wish to provide DOT/CDL exams to be trained and certified. NCAPA has developed a DVD series to train Commercial Driver Medical Examiners according to the new FMCSA standards and prepare them for the FMCSA Medical Examiner Certification Test. This course is approved for 6 hours of Category I CME*.

The DVD series includes 4 DVDs and a Course Workbook.  A Post-Test & Answer Key with feedback will be e-mailed to you as well.

Read what other PAs are saying about NCAPA’s training:

“Thank you for producing an excellent DVD based course which was very helpful in passing the FMCSA Certified Driver Medical Examiner National Registry Examination. The lectures, review materials and summary of waiting periods are well organized and geared for Physician Assistants.” Nelson Zec, PA-C

“I was unable to attend an in-person class, so I ordered the NCAPA’s DVD set to gain my required Certified Medical Examiner training.  This program exceeded my expectations in every way.  The information presented was clear and thorough, and all of my questions were answered during the program.  The accompanying written materials were a great supplement to the information provided by the lecturers, and will be a resource I use often in my clinic.  I would recommend this affordable DVD program to anyone who cannot easily attend an in-person class.” Ryan Vann, PA-C

Click here to purchase the DVD set!

*This program has been reviewed and is approved for a maximum of 6.00 hours of AAPA Category I CME credit by the Physician Assistant Review Panel.  Physician assistants should claim only those hours actually spent participating in the CME activity.


FW NC PEA Update

Jane Girskis, MS, PA-C
President and Founder, Far West NC Physician Extender Associates

I LOVE this time of year; autumn is my favorite season.  There is no way to be lazy with the crisp air, and the beautiful changing colors of leaves covering the mountains.  Life is Good.  Get out there and enjoy it.  Just watch out for ghosts and werewolves!

Having just wrapped up PA Week with the FREE 1st Annual Far West North Carolina Physician Extender Associates (FW NC PEA) Fall Conference on October 11, I gained first hand knowledge in how much work can go on behind the scenes to make things look so smooth and easy to the casual attendee or observer.  After this experience, I will never attend a conference again without thanking somebody for making it all happen.  Speaking of which, I now need to thank NCAPA, and UNIfour for generous grants of support which allowed the conference to be offered for FREE to attendees.  We were able to offer door prizes and even a yoga class during lunch, thanks to donations from local businesses.

There were six lectures on Healthcare and Wellness, Hematology, Hernias/General Surgery, Pain Management, Mens Health, and Diabetes.  Attendees came from as close as 10 miles away and as far as Raleigh, Durham, and Wake Forest.  We had attendees from Tennessee, and some new graduating PAs as well.  Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners were in attendance along with some MDs and an RN (lecturers).  One of the NPs reported that she preferred PA conferences because they seemed to offer more up to date medical knowledge than NP conferences.

Why did I decide to undertake such a huge task, asked one of the attendees?  Am I crazy?!  Well, yes, I am a little crazy.  But the real reason is that somebody suggested that our new group, FW NC PEA might  follow in the footsteps of the Piedmont Association of Physician Assistants (PAPA) and offer a free one day conference.  (That person was Alisha DeTroye).  I did sometimes feel like a sucker by agreeing to do this, but by Alisha suggesting it, she had instilled the confidence in me that it could be done, and reminded me of the importance of promoting the PA profession locally.  I live in Cullowhee, NC.  Our Vice President of FW NC PEA, Harvey Krape, lives in Bryson City, NC.  You may not have heard of us, for we are quite far west.  We are physically removed from the hub of activity in Raleigh, Charlotte, or the coast of NC but will not be forgotten and we still play a very important role in medicine.  The reason I founded FW NC PEA in the first place, with the support of NCAPA, is because the closest PA organization is in Asheville, NC which is about an hour away.   My hope was and is to increase our membership in FW NC PEA as well as NCAPA and to increase the involvement in both local and state activities.  I hope to bring the knowledge of the importance of PA advocacy and local networking to my PA community.   If I can get involved and make a positive impact, anyone can!

I am a proud member of the NCAPA, and I received valuable support and guidance during the FW NC PEA conference planning.  This experience for me has brought to light how much the NCAPA advocates and supports the PA profession to our benefit.   Read most any article in the PULSE newsletter and you will see how much is being done to benefit your everyday life at work.  NCAPA offers advocacy, CME, networking, job listings, discounts and more.  There is somebody paying attention to all the bureaucratic craziness that could negatively affect me as a PA so I don’t have to worry quite as much.  They are working hard behind the scenes for us, and I encourage every PA to join NCAPA.  They are already putting in the long hours for you mentally and even physically, sometimes even travelling to Washington on our behalf.   At the risk of sounding like public radio, I think it is a good idea to repay the support and work of this great organization by becoming a “sustaining” member of NCAPA!!  This is me suggesting that each one of you reading this article become more involved in NCAPA in some way be it large or small.  We all make a difference.   I am looking forward to more PA involvement starting locally and aiming globally.


Billing for Behavioral Health

from NC Tracks

The Behavioral Health Section of the N.C. Division of Medical Assistance (DMA) has announced that “Incident to” billing by Physician Assistants (PAs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) for patients whose primary diagnosis is behavioral health may now be billed through a primary care office as of November 30. Providers whose claims were previously denied can now rebill the claims to NCTracks.


ACA Marektplace is Open!

Open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace opened up on November 15th and will be open until February 15, 2015.  Find out more information for you, your family, and/or your patients here.


Student Survey: Previous Health Care Experience

from PAEA

PAEA’s newest Brief Report, Work and Health Care Experience, based on the 2013 Matriculating Student Survey, reveals that the vast majority of PA students have experience in health care prior to beginning a PA program.

More than 95% of students surveyed had either volunteered or worked in the health care field. The most common experience was as a nursing assistant followed by medical assistant and EMT/paramedic. The average number of weeks the students spent in a direct patient care setting was about 35 months.

A correlation was found between a student’s age and the number of weeks of total health care experience — those 29 and older reported a greater number of weeks in the health care field. Additionally, male students had, on average, more health care experience when compared to female students.

Read the full Brief Report.


NKDEP Releases New Guide

from AAPA

The National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP) released a new guide  to help primary care healthcare providers manage chronic kidney disease (CKD). “Making Sense of CKD: A Concise Guide for Managing Chronic Kidney Disease in the Primary Care Setting” is now available in NKDEP’s online Resource Center.  The guide emphasizes the most important considerations for evaluating and managing CKD patients, including identifying and slowing progression among patients at highest risk for progression to kidney failure.

Download the guide from the NKDEP website (PDF) or email NKDEP to request a hard copy of the guide.


CDC Warns About Drifted Influenza A (H3N2)

from the AAFP

Of the influenza virus strains that have been circulating during the 2014-15 flu season, influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been reported most frequently and have been detected in almost all states. That’s according to a Dec. 3 CDC Health Alert Network advisory, which reported that influenza viral characterization data indicate 48 percent of the H3N2 viruses collected and analyzed in the United States from Oct. 1 through Nov. 22 were antigenically “like” this year’s H3N2 vaccine component.

Fifty-two percent, however, were antigenically different, or had drifted, from the H3N2 vaccine virus.

In past seasons during which the predominant circulating influenza viruses have drifted, decreased vaccine effectiveness has been observed, the advisory noted.  Read the full article here.