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June 29, 2020 President's Message

Colleagues,

What a year it has been. The WAPA board of directors, and your lobbyist Chelsea Hager accomplished much despite many challenges. Here is the list of our most significant gains that will ease practice in Washington.

We collaborated with the medical commission to advance PA licensing time from months to days. Last summer we heard from over 100 PAs whose delegation agreements were back logged costing lost wages and job opportunities. The medical commission answered our request with the approval process whittled to days. 

We successfully passed HB 2378 effective July 2021, with the help our lobbyist Chelsea Hager and legislative committee chaired by Linda Dale and many PAs across the state who participated in PA Lobby Day.  Through this grassroots effort, we were able to reach out too many legislators with face to face appointments and meetings at the Capital. It was a great day. Special thanks to Representative Markus Riccelli who sponsored our bill. 

HB 2378 changed 5 key components:

1) The bill allows the delegation agreement to be kept at the practice site without prior approval from the commission to gain employment. PAs can now start a new job or change supervising physicians as needed without a delay in hiring. A copy of the DA must be filed at the commission, but it is no longer contingent on hiring. 

2) Rural PAs no longer need on site supervision.

3) Physician assistants working for MDs and DOs will now be licensed under the medical commission removing separate licensure for PAs working with osteopaths. 

4) A physician can now supervise 10 PAs instead of five. 

5) PAs are responsible for their own medical decisions alleviating the supervising physicians of our liability. 

COVID-19 arrived and we were able to negotiate a temporary suspension of the delegation agreement for PAs who were needed as front-line workers.  Many of you answered the call across Washington and the United States and many were furloughed. These are unprecedented times. We stand in support of all workers engaged in fighting the virus through legislative advocacy. 

We moved our spring conference to a virtual meeting through the heroic efforts of our CME committee who encouraged and supported our speakers who stepped up and delivered a great meeting. We were able to diminish significant organizational financial losses through their efforts so we can continue to fund and defend our practice in Washington.

Looking ahead:

Gabe Zecha is the incoming president and she is ready to embrace the continued challenges we face as a profession. The goal for the upcoming year is to rebuild the WAPA infrastructure to allow us to be more responsive to your needs through effective communication on all available platforms. 

We polled attendees at the virtual CME in April, and you responded overwhelmingly with the desire to remove the requirement for a supervising physician and many asked for independent practice. The WAPA stands behind our colleagues and shares your concern. This will be an uphill struggle but not impossible.  We could not advance the idea to Optimal Team Practice (OTP) in our last bill. We will use the next year to lay foundational changes for a modernization of our current practice. We will engage legislature and PAs across the state to educate and promote the concept to OTP to preserve and sustain our profession. 

We will continue to reach out to all PAs in Washington to encourage membership and support. The next few years will be challenging until we can change the SP requirement and level the playing field. We will continue to speak out and support all disenfranchised groups because it is a healthcare issue and the right thing to do. 

Please consider joining the WAPA or better yet, volunteer as a board member or run for president. It is an honor to serve my colleagues and make effective changes as we continue to make a difference with every patient encounter. It has been my privilege to serve alongside the dedicated PAs who have devoted decades to the WAPA board. Special thanks to Linda Krause our WAPA executive associate for the past 18 years.  

We want to hear from you. [email protected] and Go Gabe!

Take gentle care,

Eileen

 


 

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We are dedicated to the promotion of our profession and need your support for its continued growth. Each Physician Assistant in this state is important to our organization. There is strength in numbers, and we need to watch issues such as reimbursement, practice laws and work on continuing to publicize our great profession.

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Fellow: A PA who is a member of AAPA (For WAPA elections, votes for WAPA & AAPA positions) $150.00 /year

Colleague: A PA who is not a member of AAPA (For WAPA elections, votes for WAPA officers only) $150.00/year

Sustaining: A retired PA, Active duty PA or a PA employed by a federal agency (i.e. the VA or Madigan) $95.00/year

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Student: A student in a PA training program. Student memberships are $60.00 for 2 years.

Affiliate: A non-physician assistant (MD, DO, ND). $95.00/year

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