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 | February 2015

In this issue:


President’s Message


Governor McCrory gives the State of the State Address


Recertification Exam Review Conference


Joint Injection Workshop at the Stead Center


Interested in Serving on the Board?


House of Delegates Nominations


NCAPA Leader Introduction: Samantha Rogers


New Educational Development Panel Seeking Members


NCAPA Regional Chapters Seeking Officers!


NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership


Networking With Your Fellow PA


Is Physician Assistant Autonomy Inevitable?


PAs and NPs linked to higher ICU survival rates


Commercial Driver Medical Examiner Training DVDs Available!


Mission Trip to El Salvador Seeks Volunteers


Utilization of PAs in Disaster Response


 Marc_pres letter photo

President’s Message

 by Marc Katz, PA-C

Winter will soon be drawing to an end, the Legislature is back in session, our Recertification Conference is just a week away, and I’m already two months into my presidential term.  Let me begin by giving you a brief update about what has already been accomplished in 2015.

On the legislative front, NCAPA sent out an email to all of you, our members, asking that each of you become an advocate for the PA profession. No one knows what health care reform will bring to our profession (or any other medical profession), so we must remain vigilant to insure that PAs are on the forefront of any legislation or regulation that is introduced. We no longer can rely on the old adage that if it states “physician” in the law that it will also apply to us. Please take a few moments to reflect on what you can do to keep our profession strong in the regulatory, legislative and reimbursement arena.

On the education front, our Recertification Conference begins next week, on Monday, February 23rd. NCAPA held the first Recertification Conference in the nation; if imitation is a form of flattery, we should be extremely flattered, now that these types of conferences are abundant across the country. We remain dedicated to providing you a quality meeting that will ensure your success in passing the PANRE or PANCE.  Though formal recertification through NCCPA is not required to be licensed in North Carolina, many hospitals and insurance companies do require it.  As the requirements and procedures for recertification change (and for anyone who doesn’t realize it, they are indeed changing), we will remain vigilant to provide you with the necessary components.

Also on the education front, your Board of Directors approved the restructuring of the Conference Education Committee. We plan to offer our first weekend CME workshop on joint injections in March. Be on the lookout for information and sign up early, for there are limited seats available.  If you or anyone you know might be interested in working on smaller CME events or in developing online CME, please contact our central office staff.

The Board of Directors also passed a revision of the NCAPA Identity Statement.  Whereas our previous statement said that we practice with physician supervision, our new statement is:

“Physician assistants are licensed health care professionals who practice medicine in collaboration with physicians. As integral members of the physician-directed team, PAs increase access and enhance quality of patient care while being cost-effective.”

This goes along with AAPA policy, requesting that physician supervision language be replaced with physician collaboration in all documents.

We are continuing to reach out to our patients and employers to provide a better understanding of the importance of PAs in health care. To this end, NCAPA has recently become a sponsor of the Healthiest You Challenge, a joint effort of WCHL and   Let us know if you, your colleagues, or patients have become aware of the event; we hope that our support of the PA profession will reach across the state.

The Academy has also formalized a grant process for our Regional Chapters, allowing them to request partial funding for a CME event or conference.  There are currently seven active chapters across the State and NCAPA is working on better defining and strengthening of the relationships, not only between the constituent chapters and NCAPA, but also between our members and the region in which they work and/or live.

I am so proud of all that has been accomplished in this short amount of time. However, there is still much work that needs to be done. We need our membership and your input. What about being a PA interests you the most? Do you have any skills or interests that cannot only benefit your Academy but also your fellow professionals? Where would you like to see us headed in this ever changing sea of health care? Contact me or any of our central office staff with your suggestions or let us know if you can volunteer a small amount of time to help your profession.  We are always looking for new ideas and better ways to remain engaged with our members.

Thank you,

Marc Katz, PA-C


Governor McCrory gives the State of the State Address

by Sarah Wolfe, Assistant Vice-President, McGuire Woods Consulting

Governor Pat McCrory delivered the biennial State of the State address to the North Carolina General Assembly on Wednesday, February 4. In his second State of the State address since becoming governor in 2013, Governor McCrory laid out his agenda for 2015, including his plans to continue improving the state’s economy, education, healthcare, transportation, and veterans affairs.

On health care, Governor McCrory encouraged the legislature to pass “Healthy NC,” a Medicaid reform plan put forth by his administration last year. The Governor emphasized that the physician-led reform plan would put patients first and would coordinate their care across the board. While speaking on this topic, Governor McCrory did note how much of a hotly contested issue Medicaid reform was last year in the legislature.

“Now last session, we came close to passing Medicaid reform, but progress stalled on the 1-yard-line. Let’s not take another pass this year. Let’s run it up the middle and win a victory for families across North Carolina,” Governor McCrory stated.

Staying sensitive to the dicey politics of the issue, the Republican governor stated in his address that his administration is continuing to look into Medicaid expansion, but without ever using the words “Medicaid” or “expansion.”

“As we continue to review health care options for the uninsured, we are exploring North Carolina-based options that will help those who can’t help themselves, and encourage those who can. If we bring a proposal to cover the uninsured, it will protect North Carolina taxpayers. And any plan will require personal and financial responsibility from those who would be covered,” Governor McCrory said.

Governor McCrory reinforced the idea that any plan that he puts forward to cover the uninsured will be a North Carolina plan, not a Washington D.C. plan.

In summing up his health care agenda for 2015, the governor highlighted the campaign that was launched by his administration last year- “Let’s Talk It Out.” The campaign, headed up by former Lieutenant Governor Jim Garner, is an underage drinking advertising campaign, encouraging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of underage drinking.

On other topics, Governor McCrory encouraged the legislature to pass “NC Competes,” a set of job recruitment proposals that will help attract business to the state. The governor also laid out his plans to raise the teacher base pay to $35,000 this year, and the need to increase the digital learning opportunities for students across the state.

A final significant focus of Governor McCrory’s 2015 agenda is improving roads and infrastructure across the state. He called for the legislature to approve a $1.2 billion bond that would go towards road projects that are already environmental permit-ready. If the bond was approved by the legislature, then it would go onto the ballots of all North Carolina voters, in order to receive final approval.

As activity continues to ramp up at the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolinians will get to see what parts of Governor McCrory’s 2015 agenda is embraced by House and Senate members, and ultimately passed into law.

To read the entire transcript of the State of the State, click here: 2015 State of the State Address

Your one-stop shop for information of importance to NC PAs!  Check out the Advocacy Tab for the latest news about health care from around the state and legislative updates and resources.  Speaking of resources, have you visited the Resources Tab on our website recently?  There you will find all kinds of FAQs and links for PAs.


It’s Not Too Late! Register Now!

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.

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.

This program has been reviewed and is approved for a maximum of 42 hours of AAPA Category 1 CME credit by the Physician Assistant Review Panel.  Physician assistants should claim only those hours actually spent in the CME activity.

NEW for 2015! BLUEprint PANRE Pre-Test Live!  This 2 evening workshop consists of a BLUEprint PANRE Pre-test that is administered live with John Bielinski, 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.

This workshop has been reviewed and is approved for 4 hours of AAPA Category 1 Self-Assessment CME credit.

Seats are strictly limited due to the number of audience response units – and spaces are filling up fast!  A wait list will be available when seats are filled.


Joint Injection Workshop at the Stead Center

1121 Slater Road, Durham, NC
Saturday, March 21, 2015

Registration is now open for a hands-on Joint Injection workshop to be held at the Stead Center in Durham, NC.  This workshop will appeal to a broad range of practitioners who are developing joint and soft tissue injection techniques.

Participants will be required to identify anatomical landmarks through a unique teaching style.  They will demonstrate the ability to implement evidence-based practice guidelines in clinical decision-making as well as demonstrate appropriate injection techniques.

All participants are encouraged to dress comfortably for this workshop!

NCAPA plans to request 3 hours of AAPA Category 1 CME Credit from the Physician Assistant Review Panel.  The total number of credits is yet to be determined.


Interested in Serving on the Board?

by the NCAPA Nominating Committee

The NCAPA Nominating Committee is soliciting candidates for open positions on the Board of Directors and Nominating Committee in 2016. Serving on the NCAPA Board is an important way to contribute to your profession and a wonderful leadership experience. North Carolina is often cited as a great state in which to practice as a PA. It got that way through the vision, leadership, and volunteer work of PAs just like you!

If you know a PA who cares deeply about the profession, who wants to contribute to the future of the profession, who is a good listener, collaborator, and decision maker—or if you are that person—please nominate her/him for a position on the NCAPA Board of Directors.

The following positions for elected offices are open for nominees: President-Elect, Treasurer, Director-At-Large (three positions), and Nominating Committee Member. To read more about these positions and to nominate yourself or a colleague, click here.  The Nominating Committee is looking forward to receiving your applications!  The deadline for nominating a colleague is May 29, 2015.  The deadline for nominating yourself is August 1, 2015.

All terms begin January 1, 2016. Nominees for officer positions (President-Elect and Treasurer) must have been a Fellow member in good standing of the NCAPA for the calendar year prior to election. All other nominees must have been a Fellow or Associate member.


House of Delegates Nominations

by the NCAPA Nominating Committee

Nominations are now open for candidates seeking to be the NCAPA representatives to the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) 2016 and 2017 House of Delegates (HOD).  The AAPA HOD is the representative governance body for the national professional organization. It is comprised of delegates who represent chapters and other constituent groups.  AAPA will determine the number of HOD representatives from NCAPA based on the number of AAPA Fellow members in North Carolina.  In the past, NCAPA has had seven (7) delegates and we anticipate needing the same number again.

Nominations for Delegates are being accepted for a term of office that begins on July 1, 2015, and ends on June 30, 2017.  NCAPA Fellow members may self-declare or nominate another Fellow Member. (Fellow members are PAs who are members of both AAPA and NCAPA.) Those elected will represent NCAPA at the 2016 and 2017 AAPA HOD meetings, with travel, lodging, and meal expenses paid by NCAPA.

In order to be eligible, you must:

  • Be a Fellow Member in good standing through the previous calendar year.
  • Submit a Letter of Intent and brief Platform Statement to the NCAPA Nominating Committee via the NCAPA Executive Director no later than May 8, 2015.

Voting by electronic ballot will begin May 20 and close June 15, 2015.  Only NCAPA Fellow members in good standing are eligible to vote.

The entire slate of candidates will be ranked, based upon the number of votes received, in order to assign NCAPA’s delegates and alternates. NCAPA policy requires that the current President serves as the Chief Delegate.  Election results will be announced by June 19, 2015.

For further information or to submit your Letter of Intent and Platform Statement, please contact Cathie Feild, NCAPA Executive Director, at  Letters of Intent and Platform statements may be sent to this email address or by fax to 919-479-9726 or by mail to Cathie Feild, NCAPA, 1121 Slater Road, Durham, NC 27703.  If sending by mail, please allow enough time for your materials to arrive by May 8th.


NCAPA Leader Introduction: Samantha Rogers

Hello.  I’m Samantha Rogers, PA-C, the 2015 NCAPA Vice-President, and Student Affairs Committee Chair.  I was born and grew up in Greensboro, NC (another North Carolina native!) and have one younger sister.  I attended Wake Forest University for my undergraduate studies and went on to work in research as an assistant/program coordinator for four years.  I then went back to Wake Forest and completed the PA program.

As a student at Wake Forest, I got involved with the NCAPA Challenge Bowl.  I also attended the AAPA House of Delegates meetings, where I met other NCAPA leaders, and realized that I wanted be become more involved.  I have been an active member of NCAPA ever since.

I currently practice Gerontology and teach as part of the Wake Forest PA program faculty.  In my spare time, I enjoy running, biking, and reading and have recently taken up figure skating.  Even though my interests continue to expand and grow, I look forward to my continued relationship with NCAPA as well as NCAPA’s continued growth and support of the PA profession throughout North Carolina.


New Educational Development Panel Seeking Members

Are you interested in Continuing Medical Education?  Do you have a passion for bringing the latest and greatest CME to North Carolina PAs?  Then we are looking for you!

NCAPA is developing a new sub-committee of the Continuing Education Committee called the Educational Development Panel.  The Educational Development Panel will ensure that NCAPA can provide CME through a variety of ways, such as online, webinars, and one-day workshops.  The sub-committee will also assess ways in which to provide the new Self-Assessment and Performance Improvement CME required by NCCPA.

The chair of this sub-committee is April Stouder, MHS, PA-C.  If you are interested in serving on this sub-committee, please contact Carin Head, NCAPA Director of Conferences & CME, for a committee application.  Carin can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at (919) 479-1995.


NCAPA Regional Chapters Seeking Officers!

Triangle Area Physician Assistants (TAPA)is currently seeking individuals interested in leadership opportunities on the TAPA Board of Directors.  We are currently seeking candidates for President, Vice-President, and Secretary.  If you or someone you know might be interested, please contact Sharyn Gates at  For general information about TAPA, including how to join, please go to

Smokey Mountain Area Physician Assistants (SMAPA) is seeking candidates for President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer on the SMAPA Board of Directors.  If you or someone you know might be interested, please contact Sandy Pierce at  For general information about SMAPA, including how to join, please go to


NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership

from the North Carolina Medical Society

It is time for teams to be identified for the Clinical Quality Program (CQ “U”) of the NCMS Foundation’s Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership in April. The teams consist of at least one physician and two additional staff members of their choosing. Physicians and PA’s must be NCMS members.

The objectives for CQ”U”  are to:

  • Develop personal leadership skills to help drive excellence in health care quality
  • Build and strengthen team leadership skills to successfully implement quality improvement initiatives
  • Develop and share best practices and inspire others to engage in quality improvement initiatives

Feedback from previous scholars credited the program with making a significant impact in how they as leaders approach change.  They also appreciated the opportunity to work on an actual quality project as part of the program and learning hands-on, practical tools to foster, promote and strategize around change as a team.  Additional feedback included the importance of the networking and sharing experiences.

Applications need to be submitted by February 28, 2015.  Learn more about the criteria and how to participate here.

If you have any question, pleased do not hesitate to contact Tina Natt och Dag at or Erin Grover at


Networking With Your Fellow PAs

by Kat Nicholas, Director of Membership and Marketing

NCAPA is working hard to provide our members with what they need and want when it comes to CME.  We appreciate your responses and received some good feedback from our survey regarding educational offerings. At this very moment, our Director of Conferences and CME, Carin Head, is busy preparing for our first weekend workshop to be offered in March at the Stead Center. But we are not finished with you yet!  We now want to hear from you regarding appealing ways to network with fellow PAs.  It’s a quick survey and shouldn’t take more than a minute or three to complete.  Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts!


Is Physician Assistant Autonomy Inevitable?

from JAAPA
Note from The Pulse Editor:  What are your thoughts about the future of the PA profession?  We welcome your comments about the JAAPA article.  Send to

After a half-century of development, the physician assistant (PA) movement is robust, dynamic, and has moved onto the world stage in ways its creators never imagined. One of the recurring topics discussed by PAs, nurse practitioners (NPs), and physicians is the autonomy of PAs and advanced practice registered nurses. A historical connection with organized medicine endeared the PA to physicians as befitting a dependent relationship. Such professional groups as the American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, and American Academy of Family Physicians greeted PAs warmly because of a mutual interest—keeping physicians in the leadership role of medicine. On the other hand, the coolness of physician associations to the independence of NPs has been palpable. This causes some tension between the three health professions.



PAs and NPs linked to higher ICU survival rates

from Clinical Advisor

Intensive care teams with PAs and nurse practitioners have been linked to increased survival among intensive care patients, compared with teams comprising solely of resident physicians, results of a study presented at the Society of Critical Care Medicine meeting suggest.

“Our findings suggest the partnership of physician assistants (PAs) and acute care nurse practitioners (NPs) with pulmonary and critical care physicians and fellows can improve outcomes in the medical intensive care unit (ICU) and help alleviate the projected shortage of bedside intensivists,” Joe Keller, PA-C, of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, told attendees at the oral abstract session.

To determine the impact of health outcomes in ICU patients cared for by teams comprised of NPs and PAs, Joe Keller, PA-C, of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,054 patients admitted to the two 10-and 11-bed study ICUs from July 2013 to April 2014.

The survival rate among intensive care patients cared for by a PA and acute care NP was 92.2 percent compared with 88.6 percent among those cared for by a team of residents (P=0.047), with all over staffing and resources equal. The length of stay, readmission and hospital-acquired infection rates were comparable between the groups, noted the investigators.



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.


Mission Trip to El Salvador Seeks Volunteers

A PA from Northwest Florida, Brigitta Nuccio, contacted NCAPA regarding a medical mission trip she is coordinating to El Salvador.  The trip will be in partnership with Convoy of Hope (COH),who has been serving in El Salvador since 1998. The dates of the trip are April 18-25, 2015.  If you are interested in more information, please feel free to contact Brigitta at (850) 693 – 0789 or you may email her:


Utilization of PAs in Disaster Response

from Advance Healthcare Network

The PA profession has been a significant contributor to the healthcare system for 50 years. Disaster medicine is one of the many areas of medicine in which PAs practice. The military corpsmen trained as the first PAs came from a background of trauma and disaster, so the profession’s current participation should not seem surprising. But the path has not always been clear and some would say it still is not.

Many advances in the educational curricula of PAs have occurred, along with a slow but steady expansion in scope of practice. The profession has experienced significant growth and its ranks now exceed 90,000 certified PAs working in all areas of medicine. PAs have prescriptive rights in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This article discusses the utilization of the PA in disaster response and highlights possible future expansion of this role.