From the President-Summer 2016

It is an honor and a privilege to serve as President of the Kentucky Academy of Physician Assistants during the 2016-2017 term.  I became involved with KAPA in 2013 as a PA student when PAs were working to have the 18-month rule changed. It ended with the 18-month rule being revoked, allowing many of my classmates and newly graduating PA students to find employment in Kentucky instead of leaving the state to find jobs. Since that time, I have seen KAPA lobby to improve statutes and regulations for PAs and hope to continue that this year.
 
Physician Assistants are poised to improve healthcare in the Commonwealth by leaps and bounds, but to do this, we have to be able to practice to our full scope of practice.  As a native of Kentucky, I see the struggles and barriers PAs have in this state. However, as a newer PA, I am very optimistic KAPA, practicing PAs and PA students can work together to remove these barriers and further our profession in Kentucky. Removing these barriers takes time, but we also must educate others. We need to not only educate our patients but also our supervising physicians, the hospitals we work in, clinic managers and our local state legislators.
 
For more details about KAPA’s legislative agenda, please refer to the following Government Affairs update. Still, I want to reiterate here how important your help will be with our upcoming legislative push. In 2017, we are seeking prescriptive authority for schedule drugs II-V. This will be a large step in allowing PAs to practice to their full scope of practice in the state of Kentucky.
 
Although legislation is an important component of KAPA, there are important topics that KAPA is looking to expand on including the following:

  • Help with a seamless transition from 10 percent co-signature legislation to co-signature being decided at the practice level
  • Increase education of public, health administrators and others of PAs role in healthcare and how to effectively use Physician Assistants within their setting
  • Increase KAPA representation amongst the three PA Programs in our state and help our students and future PAs succeed
  • Improve the overall atmosphere for PAs practicing in Kentucky
As I see it, all of these goals along with the legislative goals all are obtainable but cannot be accomplished without support from all practicing PAs in Kentucky. We must all take ownership of our careers and be advocates for our profession—to our employers, co-workers, legislators, communities and patients.
 
Being an advocate does not mean you must invest additional time and effort outside of your professional and personal commitments. However, if you want to be more involved, your help could support KAPA’s efforts in multiple ways. These efforts do take time, which we hope you can give, but the efforts also take money. Over the past five years, KAPA has invested money in lobbying for legislation and this investment has paid off but there is still much work to do.
 
KAPA’s legislative victories have not parlayed into increased membership as hoped, so our current savings are dwindling. Without more financial support, our efforts in the future could be curtailed. KAPA has been working hard to raise funds including reaching out to the AAPA House of Delegates and many other state constituent organizations for support. They are contributing to KAPA’s advocacy fund and some individuals are even joining KAPA as affiliate members. If you are unable to support our efforts through volunteer support, then any financial support would be greatly appreciated. The more funds available to KAPA, the more we can accomplish together.
 
In closing, I encourage you to become a PA advocate and join KAPA in its efforts. Help us grow the PA profession in Kentucky and continue to provide quality healthcare to all patients in our great state. If you have any questions or suggestions on how KAPA can help, please email me at drew1ruth@yahoo.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
 
Best regards,

Andrew Rutherford, PA-C
2016-17 KAPA President