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 | July 2014

In this issue:
President’s Message
38th Annual NCAPA Summer Conference
Commercial Driver Medical Examiner Training DVDs Available!
Two NC PA’s Named to AAPA Commission
NCAPA Governance
WAKE Up the Mountain
The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
AMA House of Delegates Rejects ‘Assistant Physician’ Concept
Reunited and it Feels so Good – Again
Claims, Billing, and Provider Updates
Online Continuing Education: Tick-Borne Diseases
Health Survey Ranks U.S. Last Among Rich Peers
Medical Practices Utilize Advanced Practice Professionals


President’s Message

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

July. The month we celebrate our nation’s independence and future aspirations of NCAPA and our profession! NCAPA President-Elect Marc Katz has assembled a task force to assess the future needs of NCAPA and plans to spearhead these during his upcoming presidency in 2015.

No matter how well involved people are in an organization, there is an ebb and flow to progress, (though at times, more like a tsunami). As PA Paul Hendrix often has cited, “It takes a good crisis to get people to join NCAPA,” and, dare I add, become active participants. Just having come through the threat of Hurricane Arthur, the first hurricane of 2014, I can attest that many were at the local stores stocking up on water, food, and batteries, and getting fuel for their vehicles and cash in pocket, in case it was needed.

Why NOT be prepared anyway?

It is human nature to let events go to the wayside until a predicament threatens our life and livelihood.  In my view, it is always prudent to be looking for opportunities to explore, expand and extol the importance of NCAPA. A month before moving to NC in 1990, I joined NCAPA and came straight to the Summer Conference to meet other PAs. I attended the membership meeting to capture the pulse of our profession and met several PAs who are still pivotal to my professional progress. I am glad they continue to practice and serve as our proverbial standard bearers.

NCAPA will be hosting its 38th Summer Conference in a few weeks. I am honored to be speaking on PAlliative and Hospice Care, an issue near to my heart, as my longtime patients age and require these services. I hope to see many of you there!  Yet, in the same breath of mentioning end of life, I would like to also encourage our patients, and our selves, to seek preventive care.  A dear family member chose not to get routine medical attention and recently died at age 62 of endometrial cancer.  This type of cancer, when recognized and treated early, can be cured.

Summer days remind me that life is a bounty of wondrous gifts from our pastures and gardens, yet brings with it a constant reminder that through the cycle of seasons, autumn will soon arrive. Enjoy those REAL ‘maters and cukes, put up some jars for the cold months ahead, and do not forget to look to the sky and see those subtle sun dogs, summer storms and cumulus clouds that inspire our imagination if we allow it.

Respectfully submitted–

Charlene M. Morris, PA-C


What are you waiting for? Register Now! Rates go up August 1!

38th Annual NCAPA Summer Conference

Embassy Suites, Kingston Plantation, Myrtle Beach SC August 17-22, 2014

Combine high quality CME with a family friendly beach vacation!  The NCAPA has planned a great CME agenda, click here for the full schedule of events.

Click here for conference information and registration


Click here for hotel information and reservations

Don’t forget to make your hotel reservation soon!  Our room block is filling up and the last day to book a room in the block is July 25!  You won’t want to miss out on our low negotiated rates!


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.


Two NC PA’s Named to AAPA Commission on Research and Strategic Initiatives

AAPA has announced the chair and volunteers for the 2014-15 Commission on Research and Strategic Initiatives. Volunteers were selected through a highly competitive process that accounted for geographic representation, experience, diversity within the profession and other factors. The commission was created to assist AAPA with trend-spotting, research and strategic initiatives related to changes in healthcare that impact PA value and the daily work of AAPA members.

Commission on Research and Strategic Initiatives members:

  • Heidi Felix, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C, Pennsylvania (commission chair)
  • George Barbee, SP, DScPA-EM, PA-C, North Carolina
  • Bettie Coplan, MPAS, PA-C, Arizona
  • Christine Everett, Ph.D., M.P.H., PA-C, North Carolina
  • Kimberly Mackey, MPAS, PA-C, Texas
  • Folusho Ogunfiditimi, D.M., M.P.H., PA-C, Michigan
  • Dan O’Donoghue, PA-C, Ph.D., Oklahoma (Board member)


NCAPA Governance

Bylaws: Changes to NCAPA’s Bylaws regarding Student Directors will be voted on at the General Membership Meeting on Monday, August 18, at 8:00am at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Kingston Plantation, Myrtle Beach. Read proposed amendments.

Board of Directors Positions: The deadline for self-nominations for Board of Directors’ positions is August 1, 2014. Positions open for nominations are: President-Elect (1 year, followed by 1 year as President and 1 year as Immediate Past President), Vice-President, Secretary, Director-at-Large (two positions) and Nominating Committee (one position). All terms begin January 1, 2015. Download the nomination form.


WAKE Up the Mountain

Update by Samantha Rogers, PA-C, Student Affairs Committee Chair

Wake Forest PA studies begins a new adventure this summer with the opening of the Boone campus.  Twenty-four students out of the class of 91 students will complete their didactic year of study on the Wake Forest PA Studies Boone Campus housed in University Hall at Appalachian State University.  This endeavor is the result of a new and exciting partnership between the two universities in an effort to bring access to quality care, delivered by PAs, to parts of Western NC that are underserved.

Students, faculty, and staff are excited for what this means not only for the next step in PA education at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, but most importantly for the impact on residents of North Carolina in a changing and uncertain healthcare climate.


The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics

Did you know that, as a member of NCAPA, you have access to a members only discount for The Medical Letter ? The Medical Letter is a peer-reviewed biweekly publication which provides:

  • Unbiased critical evaluation of FDA-approved drugs, with a special emphasis on new drugs.
  • Appraisal of new drugs for effectiveness, toxicity and cost, and discussion of possible alternatives.
  • An occasional review of a new non-drug treatment or a new diagnostic aid.

Your subscription to The Medical Letter includes:

  • Print version published and mailed biweekly (26 issues/year)
  • Online access to current issue and archives from 1988 to the present
  • The Mobile Collection for your smartphone: Access your subscription from your smartphone on the mobile site – or download the free app for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android and Kindle Fire
  • FREE online per issue CME/CE

Take advantage of this great resource for drug information and free CME!  Regularly priced at $98 annually, as an NCAPA member, you can purchase a subscription for $88.  Student member price is $49.

To order, call 800-221-2769 and ask for the NC Academy of Physician Assistants discount.  Or go online to, click on Contact Us and then Customer Service.  Place your order and mention the NCAPA discount.  


American Medical Association House of Delegates Rejects ‘Assistant Physician’ Concept

News from AAPA

During its 2014 annual meeting on June 7-11 in Chicago, the American Medical Association House of Delegates considered and ultimately passed a resolution introduced by the Young Physicians Section to oppose the “use of unmatched medical students as ‘assistant physicians.'”

The resolution was in direct response to legislation passed by the Missouri General Assembly in its 2014 session to create a new category of medical licensees. Senate Bills 716 and 754 contain language that will authorize the state Board of Healing Arts to license medical graduates who have passed steps 1 and 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination as “assistant physicians,” authorized to practice in primary care in rural and underserved areas.

The Missouri Academy of PAs and AAPA opposed the legislation and were joined in opposition by the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians. The Missouri State Medical Association supported the bill.

Reference Committee testimony was in strong support of the Young Physician’s Resolution, which read:

RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association oppose special licensing pathways for physicians who are not currently enrolled in an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education or American Osteopathic Association training program, or have not completed at least one year of accredited post-graduate U.S. medical education. The only testimony in support of the “assistant physician” concept came from the Missouri delegation. READ MORE  


Reunited and it Feels so Good – Again

by Reginald Carter, Ph.D., PA Historian Emeritus, PA History Society

This line from the 1979 hit “Reunited” expresses how I felt when I learned that the NCAPA Board of Directors decided to become an Associate of the PA History Society – again.  When we launched the PA History Office back in 2001, the NCAPA was one of our first supporters and became a “founding sponsor” of the PA History Society when it was incorporated in NC in 2002.  The March/April 2002 NCAPA Newsletter featured a two-page article about the mission and goals of the Society.  As NCAPA president, Lanny Parker wrote a letter of support to help us obtain a State Library grant to digitize over 3,000 pages of materials found in the Duke University Medical Center Archives relevant to the establishment of the PA profession.  He also sent letters to other AAPA constituent chapters urging them to join the NCAPA in sponsoring the Society.

I recall fondly being at the groundbreaking ceremony held on May 22, 2004, to start construction on the Eugene A. Stead, Jr. Center and later on February 25, 2006, for the open house.  With generous gifts from Dr. John McElligott, Stanley K. Tanger, Ed Wise and Prentiss Harrison, the Society was able to move into the Stead Center.  From his estate, we were able to create a replica of Dr. Stead’s office at his home on the lake in Bullock, NC.  A formal garden behind the building is adorned with statuary collected by Mrs. Stead.  In addition, the Stead Center also houses wall exhibits and display cases honoring the founders of the profession, the development of national PA professional organizations, and the marketing the profession to the general public.  There is a wall exhibit sponsored by the PA Veterans Caucus and outside a Veterans Memorial Garden featuring a life-size combat medic bronze statue titled “life savers then, care givers now.”

After relinquishing my role as the Society’s Executive Director in July 2007, I continued working as the Society’s historian at the Stead Center for another year.  The Society’s archivist, based at Duke, continued to use the facility until 2011 when the Society became a sustaining organization of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) located in Johns Creek, GA.  Since moving to Georgia, the Society has made great progress in growing its collections, improving its Illustrated History Website and enhancing access to its digital collection of photographs, videos and oral histories.  Since 2011, I have been serving as a consultant for the Society and enjoy working with a wonderful, supportive staff and Board of Trustees.

As we approach the 50th Anniversary of our unique profession in 2017, I look forward to a renewal of the Society’s and NCAPA’s joint efforts to capture and bring alive the history and legacy of the PA Profession.  Where better to do this, than in the state that gave birth to the profession!  Please visit the Society’s website here.


Claims, Billing, and Provider Updates

from NC Tracks

Update to Provider Claims and Billing Assistance Guide

The Provider Claims and Billing Assistance Guide has been updated with current information regarding the NCTracks Provider Representatives and the counties they support.  The Guide can be found on the Provider Policies, Manuals, and Guidelines page of the NCTracks Provider Portal.  Additional updates will be made to the Guide in the coming weeks to reflect changes that have been made in the NCTracks system.

New Claims and Secondary Claims Webpages on Provider Portal

Two new webpages have been added to the NCTracks Provider Portal. A Claims page has been added to give providers a single location to find all of the key information regarding claims submission and processing in NCTracks. The page includes links to User Guides, Fact Sheets, Manuals, and Frequently Asked Questions, as well as links to key DMA Websites and Forms. In addition, a sub-page was created specifically for Secondary Claims. This sub-page includes information unique to the submission and processing of secondary claims in NCTracks, including third party insurance and Medicare crossovers. More information will be added to these new pages as it becomes available. Claims webpage on the NCTracks Provider Portal

Issues List Updated on Provider Portal

The Issues List has been updated. The most recent version of the list can be found under Quick Links on the NCTracks Provider Portal home page. The list includes a brief explanation of the issue, the type(s) of providers affected, the status of the issue (Open/Closed), and comments/resolution of the issue. The list is not intended to include every issue, but rather the prevalent ones impacting multiple providers. More issues will be added soon. Providers are encouraged to check the list before contacting the Call Center, in case it may be a known issue.

Training Opportunities for Providers in July

Five instructor-led training courses for providers will be offered in the month of July.  All of the courses will be offered in-person at the CSC facility in Raleigh.  Each course includes hands-on training and will be limited to 45 participants per course.  Read more about the trainings on the NC Tracks site.


Online Continuing Education: Tick-Borne Diseases

A free, 1 hour ACCME, learning module on Tick-Borne Diseases in the Southeastern United States is now available online. Focus will be on the epidemiology, clinical presentation, treatment, and diagnosis of regionally-relevant tick-borne diseases in Tennessee. The activity is 60 minutes long and includes a pre- and post-assessment. You can access the learning module here.


Health Survey Ranks U.S. Last Among Rich Peers

from USA Today

For the fifth time in a decade, the U.S. health care system — the world’s most expensive — ranks last among rich countries surveyed.  The U.S. ranking reflects poor scores on measures of healthy lives – “mortality amenable to medical care,” infant mortality and healthy life expectancy at age 60.

The highest U.S. score was a 3, for “effective care.”  The USA also outranked its peers on preventive care and on speedy access to specialists.

But the nation fares poorly on “access to needed services” and on getting prompt attention from primary care physicians.  Read the whole store on

Medical Practices Utilize Advanced Practice Professionals

from Jackson Healthcare

Physicians preference split between NPS and PAs, with the use of PAs significantly increasing between 2012 and 2014. Read more here.