Message from the President - July 2017

Constance D. Huynh, MPH, PA-C, President

Dear Colleague,

The winds of change are blowing. July marks the start of new fiscal year as well as passing of the presidential torch from Lyle Larson to me, Constance Huynh. It is an honor and privilege to serve Washington State’s hard-working and forward-thinking Physician Assistants. This year, my intention is to continue working on behalf of our over 3000 licensed PAs in Washington State who practice high quality, evidence-based medicine, maintain high standards when it comes to patient safety and advocate for a modernization of our PA practice laws.

In the last newsletter, Lyle recapped the Board of Directors’ work on the changing landscape of PA practice. Our national organization, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, passed a ground-breaking resolution to enhance the collaborative practice with our physician colleagues, called Optimal Team Practice (OTP). It was not by coincidence that WAPA had already began reaching out to our constituents after continuing to receive reports of incongruent hiring practices and reimbursement among non-physician practitioners giving us pause for concern. The increasing dichotomy in clinical and hiring practices, worsened by discrepant reimbursement, among non-physician practitioners begs the question: do current state PA practice laws need to be refurbished? Based on the WAPA survey distributed last month, the answer is a resounding yes! If not refurbished, then at the very least re-evaluated. Maintaining our strong history of collaborating with our physician colleagues while also practicing to the fullest extent of our training and licensure will be a cornerstone of WAPAs work this year.

Another mainstay of our work this year, and a topic I am passionate about, is leadership. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes; practice medicine in all disciplines and regions; and can advocate in all arenas effecting the PA profession. Our profession just celebrated our Jubilee Year and we are still going strong. In order to maintain our relevancy in medicine as well as our influence in medical rule-making within our profession and in legislature, we need a voice at the table. PAs in clinical and academic practice are needed to lead the charge in the realms of:

  • Preceptorship, by educating PA students.
  • Mentorship, by working closely with new PA graduates. Nothing compares to the significance and magnificence of a well-trained PA to help guide you through the beginning stages of your professional career. I had the benefit of having wonderful mentors at every stage of my career, including now.
  • Recruitment, by asking every PA you encounter if s/he is a member of WAPA
  • And lastly, but just as important, Participation in the WAPA Board of Directors. We need to maintain good representation of all PA colleagues across our vast state. Our influence as an organization is directly correlated to our active membership and participation on the Board of Directors. As you read this, I implore you to strongly consider contacting a PA school to precept a student, work with a new PA graduate as a mentor and set a goal to recruit your clinic colleagues to join WAPA. Or better yet, RUN FOR OFFICE within WAPA. Our Elections Chair, Dale Sanderson, is waiting to hear from you.

The winds of change are blowing and we need to get our sails up. They will blow our ship in one direction or another, so we need a strong crew lead by WAPA and held firm by our membership to ensure we go the right direction; for our profession and for our patients. We need all hands-on deck.

Sincerely Yours,

Constance D. Huynh, MPH, PA-C