Association of Plastic Surgery Physician Assistants

AAPA Leadership Advocacy Summit, 2019

Posted 3 months ago by Inessa Shlifer

   This year LAS, that always takes place in Washington DC, was highlighted by unusually warm weather. The heat on Capitol Hill was literally on- 76 degrees were welcomed by everyone, especially those who came from northern states. The Summit was very well attended with over 241 attendees from 40 states, including 60 PA Students. They managed to take time off their busy schedule and join PA’s to have their voices heard. I run into one of them who after the Capitol Hill attendance went back home to take her exam. The next day she told me that she did well.

   First day was very instructional, where PA’s were coached on how to present the two important issues to their legislators. The Physician Assistant direct payment act is relevant to many PA’s that practice medicine and surgery. We are the only health care providers that bill Medicare for the services, but not able to receive payments directly to our names. That creates a lot of confusion, delays in payments and miss representation of who actually provides medical service.

   The second important issue is the ability for PA’s that diagnose, treat and manage patients with diabetes to prescribe diabetic shoes by themselves. We all know the effect of such limitation on patients. Some PA’s shared their experience and the burden it creates on already sick patients, that have to wait and make a separate trip to see medical doctor for diabetic shoes prescription only. As a New Yorker we had meeting with Staffer Juan Negrete. When we presented this bill, he knew exactly what this was about. His grandfather has diabetes and he understands  the preventive importance of diabetic shoes.

  On a second day,  Jonathan E. Sobel gave us a summary on a progress AAPA is making to move us forward. The profession is gaining momentum and it is important to continue building up and work harder then ever. We have a lot of talented and enthusiastic professionals working on behave of all practicing PA’s and PA Students. 

   We had plenty of breakout sessions and were coached on many different topics.  All of them important to learn how to be effective leader in Constituent Organization. Kristen Daniels and I were attending different sessions. I attended one of the sessions with topic-“ When good bylaws go bad: building a successful CO framework through governing documents and model bylaws”. It was very instructional for me, since we are the Constituent Organization and need to keep all paperwork in order. For CO bylaws are not mandatory to have, but once we have it, we need to re-evaluate them every 3-5 years and evaluate them yearly. We should create a history of bylaws and document all changes in there, not just in minutes. The session was very interactive and PA’s shared their experiences, concerns, successes and failures. Many good points were brought up. One of them was to keep bringing new members to the board and rotate them for different positions. Another one was to have quarterly review by Treasurer- have Check & Balances on financial statements. I shared my experience of assuming a Secretary position without previous knowledge and a proper coaching. I had to learn while I was doing my Secreterial job, which was difficult and time consuming. So I suggested that it would be good to have a list of what each position’s  responsibilities consists of. It makes it easier for the next applicant to transition smoothly and with some level of comfort and confidence.

  The LAS was filled with knowledgeable presenters, most of whom practicing PA’s and AAPA administration. It’s great to hear successful stories of PA’s across the border and all fields of medicine how they get their goals set and just work every day until they succeed. It’s leaders like them who set examples for others to look up to. We learn from the best, follow their examples and begin our own journey as leaders of CO. This is what LAS is about, bring the best together and move our profession forward and closer to our goals. OTP is on agenda, it is not going away and we will succeed in adopting it in this changing medicine environment.