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 | January 2015

In this issue:


President’s Message


The North Carolina General Assembly Goes Into Session


Register Now! Recertification Exam Review Conference


House of Delegates Nominations


NCAPA Leader Introduction: Nathalie Ortiz Pate


Can’t Find Your Pulse?


British National Health Service Looks to U.S. Experts for Help


Help NCAPA Shape our Educational Offerings


Wake Forest PA Student in Hollywood Movie


Battling Ebola: A View From the Front Line


Commercial Driver Medical Examiner Training DVDs Available!


AAPA Leadership and Advocacy Summit


 Marc_pres letter photo

President’s Message

 by Marc Katz, PA-C

The North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants is the organization that represents physician assistants in this state. When we asked our members what they value most about NCAPA, their answers came down to two areas of focus: Advocacy and CME.

We, as PAs, want to make sure our place in the health care arena is secure. There must be representation and a voice when health care policies and laws are being discussed. The profession has evolved to where there are now more than five thousand licensed PAs in North Carolina and the need for regulatory and legislative expertise continues to grow, as do the time requirements to be at the table, show a face, and have a voice. At the same time, the demands of being a practicing PA have increased as well. NCAPA has researched different models to meet these needs of expertise and time and, I am happy to say, has entered into a contract with McGuire Woods Consulting to provide the necessary support services. Due to this, you will now be getting more timely information about regulatory and legislative issues that affect your practice through NCAPA’s Legislative Action Center (currently under construction at the Advocacy tab on the NCAPA home page). Spend a few minutes each week looking to see if there are issues that will be affecting your reimbursement or your ability to practice. Respond to emails of calls for action. Become an educated and informed practitioner.

The second area of service our members value is continuing education. NCAPA is well known for our conferences. Our Recertification Conference was the first one of its kind in the country and our Summer Conference brings PAs from over 35 states to enjoy our hospitality, CME and fun in the sun. Last year, we also provided an innovative educational series to meet the requirements for PAs performing DOT exams. We realize, however, that there are still more avenues of CME delivery we need to meet. We continue to explore (and will hopefully soon be presenting) online CME activities to meet the needs of those who can’t get away for a week at the Beach or drive to the Stead Center for a workshop. We need your suggestions, expertise, or perhaps even your willingness to help with our endeavors to expand our educational opportunities.  A good place to start would be to respond to this survey. You will be seeing more information about new events throughout the year, so stay tuned.

In addition to these two areas, another in which the Academy would like to grow is expanding our membership. We need every PA in this state to belong to NCAPA. We represent every practicing PA from Murphy to Manteo and would like to reflect that in our membership. The NCAPA will continue to provide the benefits you value, but we cannot grow and expand our services without expanding our membership as well.  We need you, as well as your fellow PAs who have not yet joined the Academy.

We welcome your participation and your expertise. The first Board meeting of the year will be this Saturday, January 17, at the Stead Center in Durham. If you can, come down and introduce yourself.  See what the NCAPA is doing for you and all PAs in North Carolina.

Marc Katz, PA-C


The North Carolina General Assembly Goes Into Session

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

The North Carolina General Assembly convened for the 2015 long session on Wednesday, January 14th for an organizational day. On this day, legislators were officially sworn into office and received their office, seat and committee assignments. The House formally voted for Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) to become the Speaker of the House for the 2015-2016 legislative biennium. Lawmakers will convene again on Wednesday, January 28th.

It is expected that Medicaid will be one of the big issues of the session. In recent weeks Republican Governor Pat McCrory has stated that he is reconsidering whether North Carolina should expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. If he does decide that the state should expand, the legislature will be his biggest hurdle to overcome.

In 2013, the legislature passed a law stating that North Carolina would not expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act’s optional Medicaid expansion. So far, there has been no indication from Republican House or Senate leaders that they plan to reverse that decision. Leaders in both chambers have stated that the current Medicaid system in North Carolina needs to be reformed, due to issues with controlling costs, before discussions on expansion could take place.

Even though leaders in both chambers agree that the state’s Medicaid system needs to be reformed, there still is no consensus as to how. By the end of the 2014 legislative session, it became apparent that House and Senate leaders were not going to be able to come to a compromise on how to best reform the way that the state’s Medicaid system is administered. They chose to study the issue during the 2014-15 legislative interim, in order to take more time to carefully think through any potential reform.

The plan that the House proposed in 2014 focused on building upon the current system in North Carolina, with provider-led accountable care organizations (ACOs). NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Aldona Wos expressed support for the House plan at the time.

The Senate plan would open up the market for both managed care organizations (MCOs) and ACOs to compete. It would also take Medicaid out from under DHHS, and would instead make it a standalone department. The debate over how to best reform Medicaid is expected to be taken up early in the session.

Medicaid will not only be a policy debate, but will also continue to be part of the discussion when it comes to the state’s budget. If there will be a Medicaid shortfall, and how much of a shortfall there will be, has always been a sticking point in the past among the budget chairs in the House and Senate. Without the certainty, it makes it hard for budget chairs to know how much they can put into other government services, such as public education and infrastructure.

During the 2015 long session, lawmakers are also expected to consider, among other things, further reform to the state’s tax code, funding of economic development tools, and of course, the budget.


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.

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. 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.

The Conference 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.

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.


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: Nathalie Ortiz Pate

We have an incredible number of people working “behind the scenes” at NCAPA and we think it might be time for you to meet them!  As a new edition to The Pulse, we will be introducing a different volunteer leader to you each month.  To start us off, here is a bit of information on a new leader among us, Nathalie Ortiz Pate:

My name is Nathalie Ortiz Pate and I’m the 2015 Membership Committee Chair. I grew up in Fayetteville, NC (yes, I’m a North Carolina native!).  I received my Bachelors of Biology and Bachelors of Anthropology from UNC-Chapel Hill and then, with an interest in community health, I went on to pursue a Masters of Public Health Degree in Community Oriented Primary Care from George Washington University.  From there, I realized that I wanted to practice medicine as a physician assistant and followed this dream to Duke University, where I graduated in 2011.

I have a special interest in serving the Latino and migrant farmworker population as well as treating patients with diabetes. For fun, I enjoy hiking, traveling around the world, and spending time with my husband and new puppy.

This is my first time being a committee chair, though I’ve been on the Membership Committee a few times. My goal as Chair is to connect our members and strengthen relationships between PAs, as well as with our Regional Chapters, through networking opportunities.   I’m looking forward to meeting you all!


Can’t Find Your Pulse?

Did you remember to renew your NCAPA membership?  This will be the last issue of The Pulse for those of you that have not renewed for 2015.  You won’t want to miss out on all the exciting plans we have for this year so don’t miss a beat – renew today!


British National Health Service Looks to U.S. Experts for Help

from the National Physician Associate Expansion Programme (NPAEP)

England’s National Health Service (NHS), the world’s largest health organisation, plans to partner with leading U.S. health providers and recruit 200 American Physician Assistants (PAs) to work in England on 1 or 2 year placements.

Dr. Nick Jenkins, an Emergency Medicine specialist (Attending), has been looking at the role of PAs within the NHS as part of a national training program to fast-track more clinicians into senior management roles.

Dr. Jenkins said, “There are currently growing concerns around levels of demand for healthcare in and out of hospital in England.  In response to this I have developed the National Physician Associate Expansion Programme (NPAEP) which aims to expand and develop the PA profession in England – providing an innovative solution to some of our current workforce challenges.”

He added, “If you really want to change things you have to be prepared to, at least temporarily, swap your scrubs for a suit where you can often wield greater influence.”

At present, there are just 200 PAs practicing in England (where they are known as Physician Associates) compared to around 100,000 in the US.

Dr. Jenkins said, “American PAs will be a great asset to the NHS. These placements will provide additional expert support to clinical teams and build much needed capacity in the system. We hope American PAs can show the NHS the value of these roles and benefit from their significant experience and professionalism. While in England, U.S. PAs will have the opportunity to work in the world’s most unique health service, assuming they don’t mind the weather!”

NPAEP has now started to hold talks with leading U.S. healthcare providers and is offering them the opportunity to partner with this ground-breaking program.

Dr. Jenkins will be visiting the U.S. in January to meet with various healthcare providers interested in allowing a small number of their PAs to take a leave of absence in order to come to the UK and support the development and advancement of the profession.

NPAEP is very keen to hear from any organizations who might be interested in finding out more about this program. We also wish to hear from any individual PAs who might be interested in becoming involved with this ground-breaking opportunity. Our website contains further information ( and you can contact us at


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.


Wake Forest PA Student in Hollywood Movie

by Kat Nicholas, Director of Membership and Marketing

One of our own previous student members, Kevin Lacz, has a role in a film opening nationwide on January 16th.  Kevin Lacz graduated from the Wake Forest PA program just last August and will begin working in Florida this year.  Prior to becoming a PA, Kevin served as a Navy SEAL for eight years.  During that time, he befriended a fellow SEAL, Chris Kyle, who became known as the “most deadly sniper in history.” Chris Kyle went on to write a book about his experiences, American Sniper.  Clint Eastwood has produced a movie version of the book and, with Bradley Cooper playing the role of Chris Kyle, the movie also stars Kevin Lacz playing himself.  Read more on the story here.


Battling Ebola: A View From the Front Line

by Jeri Sumitani,  a PA who volunteered to help with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa
from WebMD Health News

When the Ebola outbreak reached a critical point during the summer of 2014, I started submitting requests to volunteer in West Africa. I am a U.S.-trained physician assistant working in HIV medicine for the past two years in South Africa. I don’t have any experience managing viral hemorrhagic fevers, and would never describe myself as an infectious disease “specialist.” I have never been to West Africa, and don’t understand the cultural context under which this disease has exploded.

What I do know is that having worked and lived in Africa and other resource-limited settings, I understand what the challenges are and perhaps more importantly, my own limitations. I know what I cannot change and when I have reached my physical and psychological limits. Besides that, the only reason I qualified for this position is because I am willing to do whatever is asked. I am no martyr and no hero. I have no intentions of saving the world from Ebola. I volunteered simply because I can.

The journey to Sierra Leone from my residence in South Africa took 48 hours, a four-country touchdown (Germany, Belgium, Senegal, and Guinea), and finally a boat ride from the airport to reach the country’s capital, Freetown. In essence, I had to leave Africa to return to Africa. Previously, this trip would not have required me to leave the African continent, but due to the grounding of several flight routes since the Ebola outbreak, it now takes an epic journey of this sort to reach the land of the “Lion Mountains.”

I arrived in Freetown close to midnight on November 19. This marked the beginning of my six weeks in Sierra Leone.

Read more of the story 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.

AAPA Leadership and Advocacy Summit

from AAPA

Learn the latest in navigating new CME requirements and incorporating new models of healthcare at AAPA’s Leadership and Advocacy Summit, March 5-7, 2015. The Leadership and Advocacy Summit is the profession’s premier event for leadership development and organizational management. It features:

  • Two and a half days of interactive learning sessions
  • Leadership and advocacy training
  • Networking
  • Meetings with legislators on Capitol Hill

The summit is uniquely designed for current and emerging PA leaders. You will gain the knowledge and skills to shape the future of your profession.

See more here.