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North Dakota Academy of Physician Assistants

Happy PA Week!!!

Posted 2 months ago by Jay Metzger

Happy PA Week!

The NDAPA would like to thank all the PAs in North Dakota for what you do every day. Without the 360+ PAs currently practicing in ND, health care to our citizens would certainly suffer. From the PAs in rural primary care to the PAs in subspecialties, we all contribute immeasurably to our patients.

When I say immeasurably, I mean that figuratively and literally. From a literal sense, PAs are not always recognized or reimbursed for the care they provide. It is somewhat easier to track those in a clinical setting with panel of regular patients, but those that have to bill under their supervising physician or do work that isn’t even directly billable like bundled surgical care, PAs are not measured on what they do.

Though billing and measure of work is a big issue, some PAs can’t even practice where they want because clinics, hospitals and other health systems are only hiring NPs to avoid supervisory difficulties. In a study that the NDAPA conducted last year, PAs overwhelmingly agreed that the practice of state mandated supervisory contracts was antiquated and unnecessary.

So where I am going with all this? Optimal team practice or OTP. OTP was approved as AAPA policy last year and the NDAPA is actively pursuing legislation for this upcoming session. What is OTP? OTP call for state PA legislation that:

  1. Emphasize PAs’ commitment to team practice;
  2. Authorize PAs to practice without an agreement with a specific physician—enabling practice-level decisions about collaboration;
  3. Authorize PAs to be directly reimbursed by all public and private insurers; and
  4. Create separate majority-PA boards to regulate PAs, or give that authority to healing arts or medical boards that have as members both PAs and physicians who practice with PAs.

The NDAPA has been meeting with ND Board of Medicine and the ND Medical Association on OTP legislation. A draft of the bill we would like to submit has been shared with both groups and we are waiting on further discussions at this time.

So what can you do?

  • Discuss the importance of OTP with your supervising physicians. We are not doing this to become “independent” providers and open a bunch of standalone clinics. We are doing this to keep our profession viable and let PAs practice in clinics and hospitals that are refusing to hire us. We are doing this so that when the bean counters are determining our worth, they have a clear picture of what we contribute.
  • Discuss the importance of OTP with your state legislators. Make sure they are aware of what a PA is and what a PA does. There are many misconceptions about PAs, help clear them up.

I hope that you all have a great PA week. Make sure tell your PA colleagues that are not members of the NDAPA that we need their support. The NDAPA is the voice of our profession in ND and with greater membership, we become a much more influential voice.

Please let me or any of our board members know if you have any questions.

Thanks again for all you do!

Jay R. Metzger, PA-C

NDAPA President


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