PA Students Head to Nation’s Capitol for Forum and Advocacy

Two PA Students at AAPATwo physician assistant (PA) students – Kristin Kelly and Lauren Widau – took an active role in the PA profession when they headed to Washington, DC for the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) Leadership Forum, CORE 2011, Feb. 18-21. The students were joined by Associate Professor Jennifer Snyder.

The group was in DC to present a project on membership recruitment and retention strategy they had completed this past summer with fellow students – Amanda Via-Smith and John Emmett – for the Indiana Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA).

According to Snyder, the goal of the project was to benchmark other health care organizations, PA and non-PA, to understand what organizations were offering members.

“We analyzed closely what these organizations were providing, specifically looking for standard benefits as well as innovative ideas that were being used,” she said. “Through our findings we encouraged IAPA to consider changes in cost of membership, career networking, social events, continuing medical education, legislation and regulation, benefits, awards, mentors and communication efforts.”

In addition to presenting these findings at the conference, Snyder, Kelly and Widau joined over 225 fellow PAs and PA students in AAPA’s Advocacy Bootcamp and Hill Day, an event that took the group to Capitol Hill to present three messages to Congress.

1) The Social Security Act should be amended to permit PAs to provide hospice care to their patients who elect Medicare’s hospice benefit.

2) The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act should be amended to extend the Electronic Health Records Medicaid incentive payment to all PAs whose patient volume includes at least 30 percent Medicaid recipients.

3) The Drug Addiction and Treatment Act of 2000 should be amended to allow PAs who complete certification training to obtain a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) waiver to prescribe and dispense buprenorphine for opioid addiction.

“Effective patient care requires clinical knowledge and understanding of issues that enable PA practice and affect the delivery of care,” said Snyder. “We all must advocate for the profession to be effective in patient care and to optimize the latter.”

Kelly agreed.

“The most important lesson I took away from this experience is that being a physician assistant is more than just working in a clinical practice; I’m in a unique position to become a leader.”

Media Contact:
Courtney Tuell
(317) 940-9807

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