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Pulse Newsletter, February 2018
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WAPA Pulse | Winter Issue
February 2018


Have you registered for the Spring CME Conference next month? 

Connect with the influencers in your field, earn valuable CME credit, gain hands-on clinical experience, explore the exhibit hall and build up your advocacy toolkit at the WAPA Spring CME Conference. Join us March 21-23 at the Kalahari Resorts in the Wisconsin Dells. Full registration is $350 (members), $500 (nonmembers), $25 (student members) and $50 (student nonmembers). One-day rates and military/veteran discounts are also available. Visit our website to renew your membership and register for the conference. 
This activity has been reviewed and is approved for a maximum of 32.75 AAPA Category 1 CME credits by the AAPA Review Panel. PAs should claim only those credits actually spent participating in the CME activity. This activity was planned in accordance with AAPA CME Standards for Live Programs and for Commercial Support of Live Programs.
Don’t miss any of these exclusive sessions:
Ultrasound Workshop
Join our colleagues from the Mayo Clinic to hone in on your ultrasound skills. Six sessions are available for a variety of topics, from Advanced Echo/Cardiac Ultrasound to Soft-Tissue and Musculoskeletal. This workshop costs $75 per session (members) or $125 per session (non-members). Click here to learn more and register. 
Preceptor Boot Camp
Wisconsin needs more preceptors. That’s a fact. Anyone interested in becoming a preceptor or hoping to sharpen their precepting skills is invited to the Preceptor Boot Camp. After the workshop, you’ll be able to give constructive feedback to students, learn how to incorporate students into your practice and feel confident in your ability to be a preceptor. This is real-life training that you can implement immediately in your practice. 
This boot camp is free with your full conference registration. If you do not plan to attend the full conference, you must register separately for the workshop ($50).
Campaign for Pain
The Campaign for Pain will be on March 21 from 1:30-4:00 pm and participation in this program meets the 2-credit opioid CME requirement for the State of Wisconsin. Nileshkumar Patel, MD, will discuss Implementation of the CDC and Wisconsin State Opioid Guidelines as well as Non-Pharmacological Treatment Options for Chronic Pain. Detective Chris Kohl will also join our workshop with timely information on opioid abuse, diversion tactics and legal implications for prescribers. There is no additional cost to attend these sessions.
Stop the Bleed
Stop the Bleed is a is a collaboration between the American College of Surgeons, the Heartford Consensus and the Department of Homeland Security to bring life-saving, bleeding control training to healthcare professionals -- so that we can bring it to our communities. There is no separate registration fee for this session. Learn more on our website  and join us Thursday, March 22 at 8:00-9:00 am, 9:15-10:15 am or 10:45-11:45 am. 
Register for Spring CME


This is a very busy and productive time for WAPA. While enjoying a successful transition with our new management agency, we have continued to gain ground on initiatives meant to advance our profession and create opportunities for Wisconsin PAs. For example, we have developed a strategic partnership with a newly created AAPA marketing task-force. The project intent is to advance Wisconsin PAs toward Optimal Team Practice by educating the public, as well as corporate and legislative decision makers on the high quality, competent medicine practiced by PAs throughout Wisconsin. This initiative includes a $30,000 AAPA grant that will be used for activities such as grassroots organizing, radio spots and print media.

Our legislative effort toward practice modernization continues a steady march forward.  While we were disappointed to learn that the Wisconsin Legislature has decided to adjourn sine die by February 22, 2018 (meaning they will not come back into session until after the next general election), WAPA plans to capitalize on this legislative pause to galvanize support from our physician colleagues, legislators and other key stakeholders. We have laid out a plan for success that culminates in introducing our bill to modernize PA practice and expand access to quality medical care as soon as the legislature returns (projected as January 2019). Our Legislative and Advocacy Committee continues to work diligently to this end and is currently in the process of welcoming feedback from stakeholders such as employers, regulators and professional associations.

WAPA is making great strides in improvement of our CME Conferences by adding hands-on workshops in ultrasound and a program called, ‘Stop The Bleed’ which provides a train the trainer class for the purpose of creating a large cadre of PAs to educate Wisconsin citizens on life-saving methods to stop critical bleeding.  Beginning in the Fall of 2018, WAPA will introduce the Great Midwest Medical Conference and will restructure and further expand our CME offerings. Beginning in Fall 2019, WAPA’s Great Midwest Medical Conference will move to a new exciting venue with new opportunities for learning, entertainment and interaction with peers.

This is an exciting time to be a PA and an exciting time to be part of WAPA! We have enjoyed some fantastic successes and look forward to so much more in the months to come. All of this is made possible by your membership and support. So, please be sure to renew your membership and commit yourself to recruiting a new WAPA member today.

As your thoughts move from the holidays and wintery landscapes to warmer days and the first buds of Spring, please join WAPA, the Board of Directors and myself, as we prepare for a season of new opportunities and renewed commitment to the future of our profession. Have a safe and prosperous Spring and we will see you all at the Kalahari Resort for our 2018 WAPA Spring CME Conference!

Eric Elliot, MPAS, PA-C
President, WAPA

Eric Elliot, MPAS, PA-C

Eric is the President of the Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants. He is a PA who practices in Delafield, Wisconsin.

What YOU Can DO!

Cast Your Vote for 2018

You are cordially invited to cast your vote in the 2018 WAPA Board of Directors ballot. This year's ballot features the following positions:
  • President-Elect 
  • Secretary/Treasurer
  • Eastern Region Representative
  • Northern Region Representative 
  • Representatives to the 2019 AAPA House of Delegates 

View the candidates' backgrounds and vision statements here.

Please submit your vote one time only prior to March 22, 2018 by clicking here.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to any member of the WAPA Executive Committee or the Executive Director (contact details below). 

Thank you for taking the time to make your voice heard! 

Help WAPA Connect with State Medical Societies

Do you know or practice with a physician who is involved with your county's medical society? If so please let WAPA know! We would like to discuss PA practice law reform with as many County Medical Societies as possible, and you can help us make the connections we need to move those conversations forward. 

New Funding for Clinical Preceptor Site Development in Rural Areas

The Department of Health Services is in the process of developing a Request for Applications (RFA) for new advanced practice clinician training grants. The new grant program, proposed by the Rural Wisconsin Initiative and included in the state’s 2017-2019 biennium budget, is designed to increase the number of physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses practicing in Wisconsin’s rural communities by supporting new training sites in rural hospitals and clinics. Remember, most students accept a job where they have completed a rotation. So if you live in a rural area, get ready to apply for one of multiple $50,000 grants. 

As currently envisioned, the grants will encourage partnerships among small rural hospitals and clinics, education providers and health systems. Hospitals and clinics in communities with populations of less than 20,000 will receive priority for funding. 

Year one funding is designed for developing the infra-structure to facilitate quality training. The grants are capped at $50,000 per applicant per year and require a dollar for dollar match. The release of the RFA is tentatively scheduled for mid-March. 

Preceptor's Corner

I am often reminded of a survey from the Physician Assistant’s Education Association which said one of the reasons PA’s don’t become preceptors is simply because no one had asked them yet.

Well, I am officially asking you. Could you become a preceptor? 

We could use your help and need more boots on the ground, guiding students through their clinicals and serving as mentors and role models. The clinical setting connects textbook concepts to the application of best practices for quality health care delivery – and our preceptors play a vital role in this process.  

We need more PAs who are ready to give back to the profession and who are ready to share all their clinical skills and knowledge to our PA students. This is the ultimate reward in developing the next generation of compassionate, competent PAs who are every bit as committed to patient-focused care as you are.  

We need more life-long learners who are looking for new ways to sharpen their clinical skills and expand their knowledgebase because being a preceptor and teaching others keeps you at the top of your field.  Your university or employer likely has resources for your professional growth and development as a preceptor.

We are ready to support you, too, with the new Preceptor Boot Camp at the Spring CME conference. After the boot camp, you’ll be able to give constructive feedback to students, learn how to incorporate students into your practice and feel confident in your ability to be a preceptor. This is real-life training that you can implement immediately in your practice. 

I am especially looking forward to the panel portion of the Preceptor Boot Camp. Experienced PA Preceptors from Concordia University Wisconsin, Marquette University, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and University of Wisconsin-Madison will be ready to share their personal words of wisdom and growth.

I have to say, thinking back when we were all students, we had influential preceptors to guide us through the process. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to give back as a preceptor in my own career and I need to take a few moments to appreciate all the preceptors out there. I know that it’s a time commitment to take in a student. I acknowledge your hard work and dedication. Thank you! Without our valuable preceptors, we could not be successful!

And to the future preceptors out there, I look forward to working with you!

Beverly J. Speece, MTS, PA-C
Director of Clinical Education
UW-Madison Physician Assistant Program


Top 5 Tips from the UW-Madison Preceptor of the Year

Quinn Holzheimer, DO, an emergency medicine physician for Madison Emergency Physicians is the 2017 Preceptor of the Year at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Congratulations, Dr. Holzheimer!
“His teaching style forces students to think outside the box and consider patient management steps in the event that even the most thorough work up for an outwardly obvious-appearing disease process yields no answers,” wrote one of his students.

My instincts have improved because of Dr. Holzheimer,” another said.

So, what is his secret? Read his Top 5 tips for precepts below: 

  1. The most important thing for preceptors to remember is that each student has their own backstory, their own experience and their own understanding of their medical education. A preceptor has to be able to read and adapt to each student's strengths and weaknesses.  
  2. Prior to each "shift" or "rounds" with the student, it may be beneficial to check in with the student, ask how their rotation is going and see if there's anything specific they would like to focus on for that day. This could be "I need to get better at looking at kid's ears" vs "can you help me understand why you send this person to cath vs. do a stress test initially first on this one?" vs "I need help with how you conclude some patients are not surgical candidates?"
  3. Let the student struggle with questioning. It is okay to let them not answer for a few seconds, or even a few minutes. Sometimes the internal dialogue in a student is important for their confidence and their growth. As preceptors, we know the answer but our students have to be able to bridge the gap from student to clinician --  sometimes toiling over an answer is exactly what they need to do. I do give my students the option of saying "It's okay if you don't know the answer." Some students will take this option, but others will continue to try to come up with the answer. Each student is different. See #1.
  4. Prior to having the student do a procedure (suture repair) or task (educating a patient on something), ask them if they feel comfortable doing so. Perhaps they feel comfortable with 90% of it but may have one question or concern prior to performing the task/procedure. This will give them an "out" to get that one question or concern answered. Some students may not have the confidence to ask without prompting.
  5. If a student makes a decision that you think is reasonable but not ideal, sometimes it can be helpful to ask the question "If this were your loved one what would you do?" If the student says they would never do this or order this for my loved one, then the next question should ask why there is a discrepancy. This can often lead to a deeper conversation with your student which can give invaluable lessons on the art of medicine.

Beverly J. Speece, MTS, PA-C

Director of Clinical Education
UW-Madison Physician Assistant Program

Quinn Holzheimer, DO

Preceptor, VP of Employed Providers
Madison Emergency Physicians

WAPA Legislative Update Februrary 2018

By Paige Scobee and R.J. Pirlot, JD 
The Hamilton Consulting Group

The state legislature has been busy with bill hearings, committee votes, and floor sessions in its final weeks before adjournment. Two new representatives – Reps. Greta Neubauer (D-Racine) and Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger) – and one new senator – Sen. Patty Schachtner (D-Somerset) have joined the legislature after winning special elections in January. Gov. Scott Walker gave his annual State of the State address on Jan. 24, outlining priorities including welfare reform, economic development, and health care. Meanwhile, legislators in both chambers have been busy pushing their legislative priorities for the short remainder of the 2018 session.

Of particular interest to WAPA members, Gov. Walker in his speech called on the legislature to pass the latest set of opioid abuse prevention bills from Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette). The “Health and Workforce” bill (AB 907/SB 767) includes a variety of provisions including limiting prior authorization for buprenorphine prescriptions under Medicaid, enhancing the ability of a PA to obtain and practice under a federal waiver when the supervising physician does not hold a waiver, and requiring the Medical Examining Board to establish continuing education requirements for PAs subscribing controlled substances. When establishing these continuing education requirements, the bill requires the Medical Examining Board to “give deference” to the Council on Physician Assistants.

Gov. Walker has also issued two executive orders on opioid abuse, including one that creates the Commission on Substance Abuse Treatment and Delivery that will explore the potential implementation of a “hub and spoke model” of care delivery. Under “hub and spoke,” patients would receive acute treatment at large, regional “hubs,” then transfer to community-based “spokes” for maintenance and recovery.

Health care will continue to be a major topic in the legislature in 2018 as Gov. Walker has rolled out a Health Care Stability plan to keep insurance premiums down and create more choices for consumers in Wisconsin. His plan calls on the state Senate to concur in legislation previously passed by the state Assembly creating a pre-existing conditions exclusion as well as stand-alone legislation creating a state reinsurance fund to support plans in the individual market. WAPA is monitoring these and other health care and workforce bills as session comes to an end.

The state Senate has announced it will meet for floor votes once in February and continue meeting into March. Assembly Republican leadership has indicated the Assembly will meet three to four times in February and then may not reconvene until January 2019. When the legislature adjourns, absent special circumstances, we do not anticipate it will reconvene until January 2019. After adjournment, legislators will shift their focus to fall 2018 elections and preparation for next session’s budget and legislation. 

R.J. Pirlot, JD

WAPA Lobbyist
Hamilton Consulting Group

R.J. has over twenty years of experience in government and regulatory affairs, including experience with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and the Wisconsin Medical Society. He has also worked as policy director and legal counsel for the Office of the Wisconsin Assembly Speaker, under Republican Scott Jensen.

Student Section

What is your alma mater up to? 
Use WAPA to stay connected with students from your university. Read winter updates and reflections on 2017 directly from students at UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, Carroll University, Concordia University and Marquette University. 


UW-La Crosse

BBeau Gerding, Jyoti Gautam, Rebecca Bluhm and Anna King

During this past holiday season, the UW-La Crosse PA Program participated in a couple of charity events, one of which was sponsoring a family in need. We came together as a class and donated a few items to a mother and her daughter. During our January-term, we had the opportunity to use time outside of class to practice point of care ultrasound, after having an introductory workshop in December. This has given us a chance to become more comfortable with a tool that hopefully will become more widely used by providers at the bedside in the near future. In the spring, we are looking forward to participating in the WAPA conference!

Pictured below: UW-La Crosse holiday photo submission.




By Annie Dutcher, PA-S

The fall semester just flew by! In December, we wrapped up with dermatology-filled fun, med micro, women's health and more. Taking advantage of a 2 week winter break, students traveled across the country from Nashville to Texas to Florida, Washington, Minnesota and more. Already prepping for clinical year, most students completed their ACLS course over the winter break. We returned to a flurry of cardiology, and this next week anticipate hearing first-hand about a PA's experience with sudden cardiac arrest. We are also in the midst of planning for our medical mission trip to Belize in May, with 19 students from our cohort attending. This keeps up busy with fundraising, gathering donated medicines and updating our vaccines and passports. Interviews for the 2018-2019 cohort started in January, making us all nostalgic about our interview weekend. We are volunteering to help give prospective students tours as well as student perspective on our fabulous program.

Clinical year students are on their fourth rotation, which is also their final core rotation! Students are rotating in general surgery, surgical subspecialties, internal medicine, internal medicine subspecialties, or emergency medicine for the next two months. Their final rotation will involve gaining experience through an ‘elective’ preceptorship from a broad range of areas. A few examples of elective preceptorships: obstetrics and gynecologic surgery, transplant medicine, orthopedics, and pulmonology. Students are also gearing up on seeking positions following graduation and preparing for the PANCE!

Carroll University
Submitted by the Carroll group!

Over the Summer semester, Carroll University’s first year PA students had the very first opportunity to study in the school’s newly built cadaver lab. This January, the program’s students created a new opportunity for those who had learned from Alma, Beatrice, and Cooper, the new names given to the three cadavers, to commemorate the gift of knowledge that has been given to the PA students. The cadaver memorial, which included just the current PA cohort for the time being, was a time used to reflect on what was gained by having the ability to dissect cadavers to better understand the human anatomy and to show appreciation for the donation of these individuals’ bodies for this goal. In the future, we hope to expand the ceremony to include other graduate and undergraduate programs who will also use the cadavers in their studies. 

During the Summer semester, the first year students were also able to practice newly learned physical exam skills on children from the community during “Peds Day.” Having the opportunity to work with real patients, especially children, is invaluable to students and allows them to practice skills in ways that make coursework become more real. It also gave students the ability to work with children, which is a significant change from practicing on their adult classmates

Pictured to the right: Carroll University’s PA students practice newly learned physical exam skills on children from the community during “Peds Day." Pictured below: Carroll University’s PA students had the very first opportunity to study in the school’s newly built cadaver lab. 


Concordia University 

Below: Photo submission by Jordan Pendergast and the Concordia group! First Year Concordia University PA students volunteering at Ronald McDonald House in Wauwatosa.


Marquette University

By Alexis Sover and Andy Paplham 

It has been a relaxing and rejuvenating winter break for the Marquette PA students, and they are ready to hit the books hard and continue to delve into the world of medicine.

  • The PA-1s are beginning their physical exam and history taking classes, as well as classes on laboratory tests and EKG. Blood pressures, heart sounds, and the full neurological exam are just a few of the skills that they will learn to perfect in the upcoming months. They will also have their first encounters with standardized patients which are always rewarding and valuable experiences as a student.
  • The PA-2s are currently in surgery class, learning about various procedures and the OR protocols. They will be tested on the tools used in surgery as well as pre-and post-op patient care. They will also have a standardized patient encounter in which they will be interacting with Spanish speaking patients while utilizing interpreters from Milwaukee Area Technical College. It is exciting to have this opportunity in an educational setting before experiencing it in the real world! This will be an exciting semester, filled with more hands-on training as they get closer to beginning their clinical rotations.
  • The PA-3s are finishing their last clinical rotations and graduation is on the horizon. We are all so proud of them!

We are currently preparing for our annual spring benefit. The benefit raises money for Repairers of the Breach and supports future PA student education. It is on March 3 and we would love to see you all there!  

Student Section

Upcoming Events

WEHN Annual Conference, March 1-2

Making the Connection 2018: Environmental Health in Wisconsin
by Wisconsin Environmental Health Network. CME Available. Visit the WAPA Calendar to learn more

WACEP Spring Symposium, March 14-15

WI Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians invites WAPA members to join them at their annual conference in Madison, March 14-15. CME Available. Visit the WAPA Calendar to learn more