2018 Dues
are Due
Membership Renewal Time
Your 2018 Dues Notice has been mailed. You may pay your dues using the form included in the mailing - or visit your online account www.oregonpa.org and renew/join there. If you've forgotten your password, you may reset it online. We appreciate your support for the professional voice of Oregon's PAs - the OSPA!

Members receive discounts on courses and the Fall CME, FAQs at your fingertips, access to professional resources and much more.
OSPA Regional Dinner Meetings
The inaugural OSPA Regional Dinner Meetings are being planned for January and February. The first 2 locations will be Southern Oregon (Medford, Grants Pass, etc.) and Central Oregon (Bend and the surrounding area). At these meetings, OSPA leaders will be onsite to provide an overview of OSPA activities, and lead discussions on Optimal Team Practice (OTP) and its effect/benefit on Oregon's PAs.

If you reside/practice in one of these regions and wish to be notified when the dates and locations are set up, please let us know at www.oregonpa.org
Society Updates
Early Career PAs
Graduating from PA school can be an exhausting and trying time but extremely rewarding. However, this is only the first step in the process of starting a career as a Physician Assistant. Most of us have become adept at navigating PA school and all of its challenges. The next great challenge is learning how to navigate the early years of a PA career.
OSPA offers invaluable information and guidance for new PAs in Oregon trying to get started in their profession.  Whether you are a new grad or looking for a new PA position, the OSPA website provides some great resources to help. Please take some time to peruse the Jobs/Careers tab on the homepage. On that same link there is an opportunity for prospective employees to upload their resume for a free review prior to submission.
 The above services are free to all PAs but joining OSPA helps support an organization that continues to further promote and improve the profession in the state as well as provides personal benefits to the member such as discounted CME conferences.

Lastly, our OSPA Early Career PA committee has additional plans for the future to connect those of us in this phase of our careers. Is there something specific that you would find to be of value? Let us know ospa@oregonpa.org
OSPA Accomplishments!
Just this year, and in the recent past, the OSPA successfully advocated for:
* SB 964 - securing hospital admitting privileges for PAs (2017)

* SB 423 - allowing rural PAs to dispense Schedule III and IV drugs (2017)

* HB 3439 -PAs can now be majority owners of a medical corporation (2017)

* HB 3261 and HB 2066 - preserving rural PAs' tax credit incentives (2017)

* SB 905 - added a PA to the OMB, increasing your voice with this regulatory body (2016)

* HB 2880 - allowing PAs to perform fluoroscopy (2015)

* SB 1548 - updated 75 statutes improving Oregon PAs' ability to practice (2014)
Save the Date for the 2018 Fall CME
Save the Date of October 11 - 14, 2018 for next year's OSPA Fall CME. We're returning to Salishan Lodge on the Oregon Coast.

SEA-M-E at its very best!
Join the OSPA
Invest in your future and your profession!

The OSPA is Working For You!

OSPA President's Message
Saje Davis-Risen, PA-C
Hello everyone!  December is definitely here and in the greater Portland area we have been enjoying cold but sunny weather!  OSPA Board members, committee chairs and committee members have been hard at work since we saw many of you at our annual conference at Salishan Resort. I'd like to share a little bit of what we have been focusing on.

Regional Meetings and OTP:  At the conference we began a great discussion on 'Optimal Team Practice' and have begun to explore what Oregon PAs want from OTP and how you would like OSPA to advocate for you in the area. In this newsletter and on OSPA's website you will find information about the four pillars of OTP and how AAPA is working to promote it.  Please follow this link to take the survey if you haven't done so yet! We are gathering survey data as a first step to learning what you think about OTP.  

At the conference we saw how much people enjoyed the opportunity to talk about the four pillars, the potential benefits and also the concerns that you have in regards to some of the pieces of OTP.  We promised that we would hold Regional Meetings to offer more opportunities for discussion.   These meetings are currently in the planning stage and we plan to hold them between January and March.   Bend and Grants Pass areas will go first in January, followed shortly by Portland, Coos Bay. For those of you who are not close to where a Regional Meeting is being planned, we are also planning a Webinar which we hope will provide an option for those unable to attend in person.  Be on the lookout for those announcements so you can sign up for either a face to face meeting or the webinar.  We are looking forward to hearing from you!

The Government Affairs Committee (GAC) and myself have been hard at work with the Oregon Medical Board, providing perspective on potential new rules around PA Student Preceptorships, and assisting the OMB with understanding your concerns about the 8 hour onsite supervision requirement, and the potential barriers to practice it poses.  I'm committed to attending the public comment meetings of the OMB to represent Oregon's PAs and OSPA is committed to making sure your voice is heard.  

One final thought before I let you move on to reading what the rest of your OSPA Board has to say:  I would like to strongly encourage you to become involved in your professional organization. OSPA is the only professional organization whose only goal is to represent all PAs in the state of Oregon.  We are grateful to our OSPA members, and I strongly believe that the more PAs that are active in our association, the better and stronger PA practice will be in our state. There are lots of ways to become involved.  One way is to join a committee.  We have a openings on all of our committees.  The CME committee plans our annual conference.  The GAC keeps watch over what is happening legislatively and positions OSPA to respond appropriately. The New Careers PA committee is in its inaugural year and is working on ways to connect with and support new career PA's. The Membership Committee is working at engaging all PAs in the state, and sharing the value of membership in the OSPA.   If you are interested,  contact us at ospa@oregonpa.org  We would love to have you join us in the work we believe is so important to the practice of our profession in Oregon.

Measure 101 - Get Involved
This January, Oregonians will decide the future of healthcare for our state. OSPA made the decision to support Measure 101 because we know the importance of ensuring equitable healthcare access for the most vulnerable Oregonians, including seniors, people with disabilities, and over 400,000 children.

Now, it's time for us to get our friends, neighbors, and relatives on board. One million Oregonians, including 400,000 children, are counting on us. Let's make sure Measure 101 passes on January 23, 2018. Spread the word!
OHSU PA19 Students' Perspective
Kerith Hartmann, PA-S and the OHSU PA Class of 2019
We are almost halfway through our first year of PA school and we have learned so much in a such a short period of time. The best parts of this experience are the bonds that are being forged, the incredible support of faculty, and appreciating the investment that is so intentionally put into our education.

Mentorships began this term, which has given us the opportunity to take our learning outside of the classroom. Going into an exam room and spending time with patients adds perspective to what we have learned from a summer term of practicing with our classmates.

Many students are participating in volunteer activities, from the student-run Bridges Collaborative Care Clinic to food and clothes drives for Oregon Food Bank and Central City Concern to participating in antibiotic resistance awareness activities to partnering with our friends at Pacific University for PA service events.

The sheer volume of work coupled with our ability to complete it has been both surprising and affirming. One student said, "If you would have told me, 'You need to do this much reading, look over this much material,' I would have told you I could never do that. I've been surprised by how hard it is but how everyone has been able to adjust it."

Our beloved mascot, the penguin, helps us stay connected to the challenge of keeping the need-to-know information in our heads. Just as only so many penguins can fit on an iceberg, we can only process so much information at one time. We need prioritize and, with repetition, the information slowly begins to coalesce into permanent neural pathways. As we practice this process, we occasionally sit uncomfortably, having the courage to be imperfect as we learn. As one student noted, "I feel like I'm pretty high achieving and competitive. It takes practice to be good at things, to allow myself to not be good at things and to appreciate that that's part of the learning process."

Within the variety of goals our class holds - to end each week feeling healthy, to stay balanced, to discover challenging and exciting fields in medicine, to eventually pass the PANCE - there is a commonality of a love of learning, a passion for medicine and an appreciation of the opportunities we have in the OHSU PA program.
Another View on a PA's Future in Oregon
Edwin Weih, PA-C
Outdated Laws Threaten Future of Patient Care in Rural Oregon

Across the U.S., many people who live in rural areas struggle with access to quality, affordable healthcare. Edwin Weih, PA-C, knows this challenge well as he practices in Oakridge, Oregon, a town with only 3,500 residents.

For two decades, PA Weih's primary care clinic has been a reliable presence in the community, providing medical care to patients that they would otherwise have to travel great distances to receive-or simply go without. Unfortunately, outdated PA practice laws are threating patients' access to care in Oakridge as well as Weih's ability to practice.    

Today, Oregon and all other states require PAs to have a supervisory or collaborating agreement with a physician in order to practice. Some state laws and regulations go into even more detail as to what is required at the practice level.

For example, in Oregon, the physician with whom Weih practices must review a percentage of Edwin's patient charts. One day per month, the physician travels over an hour to Edwin's practice location in Oakridge to meet the state's requirement for onsite supervision.

"These requirements are an administrative hassle that have no impact on patient care," said Weih, who is growing increasingly concerned about what happens to the patients he serves once the physician he works with retires. The rural physician workforce is aging. If Weih can't find another physician willing to enter into a supervisory agreement with he may have to close his practice.

Also, the healthcare marketplace has changed-not only in Oregon but across the country. As more and more physicians are employees rather than practice owners, the incentives for physicians to supervise PAs have diminished. Physicians also increasingly don't want to assume PA supervision liability.

For these reasons, AAPA passed a new policy earlier this year, often referred to as Optimal Team Practice, which seeks to change laws and regulations to enable PAs like Weih to practice without the legal requirement to have an agreement with a specific physician.

This doesn't mean Weih will be practicing independently as he has a team of specialists with whom he regularly collaborates and consults, referring patients to them when necessary-as all primary care providers do.  
In fact, Optimal Team Practice includes two important points that distinguish it from independent practice:
1.     Optimal Team Practice reinforces PAs' commitment to team practice with physicians and explicitly states that the PA/physician team model continues to be relevant, applicable and patient-centered; and
2.     Optimal Team Practice calls for a decision about the degree of collaboration between PAs and physicians to be made at the practice level, in accordance with the practice type and the experience and competencies of the practicing PA.

"It's just clear that the laws and regulations that were put in place decades ago must be changed to meet modern healthcare needs," said Weih, who added, "I depend on physicians every day, and have great respect for the depth of physician training. I wouldn't think of practicing without physician input."
OTP Survey
We Want Your Opinion!
Optimal Team Practice (OTP) is a four-pillared vision for future PA practice. AAPA proposed OTP in response to concerns about the barriers that PAs experience today in the evolving world of healthcare. Many PAs have experienced difficulties and voiced firsthand problems in obtaining or retaining positions in a changing competitive marketplace. PAs have also experienced the frustrating limiting of their abilities to provide the best care to their patients. OTP attempts to address those issues and position our 50-year-old PA profession to thrive over the next 50 years.  

The OTP pillars are:
1. Continued commitment to the team-based approach to patient care

2. That collaboration be determined at the practice level, rather than by government mandate

3. Regulation of PAs by autonomous PA boards, or boards which have suitable PA membership

4. Direct and visible reimbursement for PA services by all public and private insurers

OSPA's goal in developing this survey is:

1) To determine to what extent Oregon PAs support or agree with the AAPA's OTP vision.

2) To determine what parts of OTP that Oregon PAs find important or compelling.

3) To determine how this might affect an Oregon PA's everyday practice.

Your answers will assist the OSPA is assessing the appropriate next move for the OSPA in addressing the appropriate next move for the OSPA in addressing OTP's future in Oregon. Thank you in advance. Your OSPA - Working for Oregon's PAs.
The OSPA's PAC The Investment in Your Future!
Why give to the OSPA PAC?
The PAC exists to help OSPA accomplish its legislative aims. PAC monies are used to support Oregon leaders in their efforts, to help educate them about the issues and concerns important to PAs, and to access decision-makers and influencers in our state political system.
PAs practice in a high stakes environment, and any changes in state law, regulation, or oversight has the potential to impact our livelihoods, and the health and wellbeing of our patients. Our lobbyists and members devote constant attention to the activities of the legislature and government agencies in order to protect and further the profession.

How much to give to the OSPA PAC?
A good rule of thumb is that a day's wages goes a long way over the course of a year. For nearly all PAs, $500 represents a day's wages. Many of us are busy caring for others, and find it difficult to step away from that to volunteer for the profession. Your dollars are a valuable substitute, a proxy for your time, and a sound investment to preserve your ability to practice your livelihood. As a bonus, Oregon tax law generally allows you to get the first $50 you donate back, as a tax credit each year.

Volunteers Wanted
It's obvious that volunteering for anything takes time and a bit of dedication to the cause. We encourage you to explore your time commitments and let us know if you might have time for the OSPA - The PA profession's professional society in Oregon. Several opportunities - large and small exist for your talents!
OSPA's Mission Statement
"The mission of the Society is to promote quality, cost effective, and accessible health care; to support the professional and personal development of physician assistants; and to advance the PA profession as well as the PA/MD team approach to health care."  
Oregon Society of Physician Assistants | 503-650-5864 | ospa@oregonpa.org  | OSPA Website