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WAPA Pulse | 10/23/2019                                                                                                View this email in your browser
A Madison employer (MEP) just received a national PA award. Read the story below in PAs Who Hustle Hard -- then share it with your employer. Maybe the conversation will prompt positive changes for PA teams? Or already outstanding employers can check their lists and apply next year?

Clinical Pearls: It's tick season
According to 2017 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Wisconsin had the fourth-highest number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease in the nation. The CDC reports there were 1,794 confirmed cases and another 1,206 probable cases identified. The state Department of Health Services estimates there were 3,101 confirmed and probable cases of Lyme disease in 2018. The agency said the average number of reported cases has more than doubled over the past 10 years.

There is a bi-partisan effort moving through the state legislature to hire a state epidemiologist and raise public awareness, but PAs can do their part, too.

Lyme disease is a Category II reportable condition in Wisconsin. Health care providers should report to the patient's local public health department:
  • Electronically, through the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS).
  • By mail or fax using a Lyme Disease Case Report Form, F-02188 (PDF).
  • By calling the Bureau of Communicable Diseases at 608-267-9003.

You should also ask your patients if they will be enjoying their time outdoors this summer and share prevention and treatment resources whenever possible.

Advocacy Central
Amazing volunteers at PA Day at the Capitol!
Last month, PAs from across the state joined WAPA at the Capitol. It was an amazing group of volunteers who are working hard to make sure lawmakers understand the work PAs do and the bill we are trying to pass (CARES Act).

We had 44 PAs pre-registered (and many more walk-ins) who were able to meet with 27 legislators.

It’s an exciting time for PAs in Wisconsin. Change is happening this year that will affect you and your practice. WAPA is proud to be a driving force behind it, and, with your help, we will make it better for PAs across the state. Stay tuned for more of WAPA’s legislative updates -- we will need your voice again!  
Dental Therapists, Potential June Hearing
Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) and Sen. David Craig (R-Big Bend) have introduced legislation (SB 89/AB 81) that would create a new license under the Dental Examining Board for "dental therapists," an intermediate level of dentistry practice between hygienists and dentists. Dental therapists would perform certain services under the general supervision of a dentist with a collaborative management agreement. The dentist need not be present for the dental therapist to practice. A single dentist may have collaborative agreements with no more than five dental therapists at a time. Similar legislation failed to pass last session, due primarily to opposition from the Wisconsin Dental Association.

Committee chair Sen. Patrick Testin (R-Stevens Point) told Wisconsin Health News this week the committee would potentially hold a hearing on the bill in June, but no hard assurance seems to have been made.

WAPA is following the issue to see how the legislature responds to other collaborate practice proposals, albeit very different models.

Relaxing State PA Medication Assisted Treatment Rules -- Listening Sessions
The Department of Health Services (DHS) has started the rulemaking process for broad revision of ch. DHS 75, Community Substance Abuse Service Standards. The scope statement 008-18 for this rule draws from the objectives from Governor Walker’s 2017 Executive Order #228.

DHS is collecting preliminary public comments on the rule at The department is also holding listening sessions: Milwaukee on June 17; Lac du Flambeau on June 27; Madison on July 16.

Recently, WAPA's lobbyist team at Hamilton Consulting spoke to DHS to discuss modifying DHS 75.15(10) under this rulemaking process to allow PAs to prescribe and adjust a buprenorphine dose. DHS notified WAPA that while PAs can prescribe and adjust doses outside of an OTP setting, federal law does not permit it within the OTP setting without a waiver from SAMHSA. The OTP itself has to apply for the waiver not the individual.

WAPA reached out to AAPA to confirm this information. AAPA confirmed that SAMHSA-certified Opioid Treatment Programs have stricter regulations than office-based opioid treatment programs which utilize buprenorphine. Additional resources from AAPA can be found here and here.

While DHS may not be able to address the ability of PAs to adjust a buprenorphine dose under this rulemaking, WAPA will continue to monitor this rulemaking process.

We are WAPA
2019 AAPA House of Delegates Update: Wisconsin Leads the Way!
The past three years have represented a pivotal change in WAPA’s approach to policy reform.

In 2016, WAPA testified and caucused in support of the landmark Optimal Team Practice (OTP) resolution which resulted in a paradigm shift in national PA practice policy. In 2017, WAPA joined Midwest states and others in aggressive opposition to a resolution that would have substantially weakened OTP. 2017 was also the year in which WAPA co-sponsored a successful resolution to mandate that AAPA undertake a professional title change investigation, now referred to as TCI.

The initial phase of TCI research has produced evidence that the PA title requires modernization and revealed an overwhelming sentiment in support of title change. The search for a new professional title is now underway (WAPA members can read our notes on TCI here).

Wisconsin continued to lead the way at the 2019 HOD. After discussions with Wisconsin PA programs revealed preceptor CME to be woefully inadequate, WAPA delegates set out to do something about it. WAPA delegates authored a resolution to double the CME credit awarded to preceptors of PA students. The resolution was nearly tabled before WAPA’s delegates skillfully negotiated an agreement in caucus with several other states. The resolution was ultimately passed unanimously in the final vote of the 2019 HOD. WAPA also authored a resolution and position paper aimed at standardizing the various degree titles for PA programs and PA doctorate programs. While this resolution was not immediately successful, it has been referred to an AAPA committee for further investigation.

We look forward to a committee report back to the HOD in May 2020 where Wisconsin delegates will continue to push for common sense policy reform.  
WAPA Foundation: Call for nominations and scholarship applications
2019 PA and PA-Leader of the year nominations can be made on the WAPA website. We are accepting nominations from now until August 31, 2019.

Please also review the current scholarships available. Deadlines are quickly approaching!

  • Ben Lawton, MD Advancing Careers Award
    A $1,000 scholarship is available each year for a PA who is a WAPA member and who has made demonstrated steps toward advancing his or her career as a physician assistant. Download application.

  • Paul S. Robinson Leadership Award
    A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a PA student in his/her final year of school, who demonstrates outstanding leadership. Download application.

  • Norine Friell Service Award
    A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded a PA student in his/her final year of school, who demonstrates exemplary service to the community. Download application.

  • Robert T. Cooney, MD Scholarship
    The $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a recent graduate of one of Wisconsin's PA Programs who is committed to practicing family medicine in a small town or rural setting. Download application.  

A friendly reminder from the WAPA Membership Committee
Are you on a school calendar year instead of a traditional fiscal year? June is a great time to use your CME funds to renew your WAPA membership. Call us at (414) 253-8188 or email your Membership Manager, Melissa Graham, at if you need help.
PAs Who Hustle Hard
This Madison organization hired 45 PAs in 12 years and just received a national award for their initiatives and culture. How does your employer compare?

Madison Emergency Physicians (MEP) was selected as one of the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management’s (CHLM) winners of the 2019-2020 Employer of Excellence Awards at the AAPA national conference in Denver, CO, last month.

WAPA is proud to see its own PAs offering such a strong model of optimal team practice for a national audience – a model that is redefining the conversation between teams of physicians and advanced practice providers. Given this, WAPA would like to congratulate MEP for receiving the Employer of Excellence Award.

Quinn Holzheimer, MD, MEP’s Chief Talent Officer, accepted the Employer of Excellence Award on behalf of MEP.

"Our advanced practitioners are the cream of the crop, and we do everything we can to foster an ideal environment to work together to care for our patients. We’re honored to be one of only three private physician practices nationwide to earn this award and to be in the exclusive company of larger healthcare organizations like Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Stanford Healthcare."

A cohort of PAs nominated their employer for the award, hoping to recognize MEP for its PA-centric initiatives. MEP has developed a robust system for cooperative communication that enables and encourages PAs to step into leadership roles alongside physician colleagues, both on shift and behind the scenes.

To read more about MEP and its award, read the full announcement here. It's been prepared by a WAPA member so we know you'll love reading it, too.

"MEP has made a habit of recognizing and supporting their AP's through respecting the collective AP voice and providing opportunities for AP's in leadership. But equally as impressive to me has been the focus on work/life balance and career satisfaction for employees. The emergency department is an inherently unpredictable and stressful environment but MEP has been able to mitigate many of those stressors by prioritizing the wellness of employees outside the walls of the ER. I feel fortunate to be part of such a great team and was honored to be at the ceremony recognizing them for their dedication to their AP members," explained Emily Smith, PA-C, one of the first PAs on the MEP team. Their positive culture has resulted in momentum and growth for their team: from one PA in 2007 to 45 PAs on staff in 2019.

So, will this catch on in Wisconsin? We challenge you to share the CHLM criteria and rules with your employer to see how they match up. Maybe the conversation will prompt positive changes for PA teams or already outstanding employers can apply for the award next year?

Photo, from left to right:
Rosie Whinnery, PA, Quinn Holzheimer, DO, Shannon Coakley PA-C, Emily Smith PA-C
For the PA Today
Delays in DSPS licensing approval?! WAPA Professional Practice Committee is investigating this for you... Keep calling (414) 253-8188 or emailing WAPA with your practice questions!

WAPA has heard from several PAs who are experiencing delays in the licensing process through DSPS and continue to follow up on your behalf. While it normally takes weeks to obtain a license, for some, it is now taking months. This could be due to staffing changes at the state level.

We are also hearing that there are difficulties in contacting DSPS for support. WAPA is hoping for more information and direction to share on our website and on social media... Stay tuned!
Upcoming Events
10th Annual Current Topics in General Surgery
6/7/2019 » 6/8/2019
Location: Madison, Wisconsin    Time: 7:00 AM

SPOTS Series
Time: 12:00 PM

WAPA Chips & Salsa + Guac-Rhematology
Time: 6:30 PM

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin    Time: 6:30 PM

SPOTS Series
Time: 12:00 PM

Physician Assistant Board Review: A Comprehensive Review for PAs & NPs
7/30/2019 » 8/2/2019
Location: Rochester, Minnesota    Time: 7:00 AM

Time: 1:00 PM

Mayo Clinic: 21st Annual Internal Med Review for NPs, PAs & Primary Care Phys
9/11/2019 » 9/13/2019
Location: Rochester, Minnesota   

3rd Annual Hematology, Oncology & Blood & Marrow Transplant for NPs & PAs
9/13/2019 » 9/15/2019
Location: Rochester, Minnesota    Time: 12:30 PM

SPOTS Series
Time: 12:00 PM

Inpatient Medicine for NPs & PAs: Hospital Medicine from Admission to Discharge
10/16/2019 » 10/19/2019
Location: FERNANDINA BEACH, Florida    Time: 7:00 AM

2019 WAPA Fall Great Midwestern Conference
10/23/2019 » 10/25/2019
Location: Kohler, Wisconsin    Time: 8:00 AM

Top Jobs from the WAPA Career Center
Looking for ways to get your job opening noticed? Head on over to the WAPA Career Center to advertise your positions with WAPA members. Members can search this job board for free.
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