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October 2020

Table of Contents:

  • President's Perspective
  • Governor's PA Week Proclamation and PA Professional Day Thank You 
  • Announcements
  • Capitol Connection: Colorado Legislative Update
  • CAPA|NIH Collaboration: All of Us Research Program
  • Reimbursement Pearls
  • Student Updates

Hello Colorado PAs!

We appreciate you! Thank you for your dedication to your patients, your community, your profession, and for supporting CAPA. To say we are all settling into a new normal would certainly be an overstatement, as most of us are not ‘settling’ and nothings seems ‘normal’ in 2020. This year CAPA is working at multiple levels to support PAs in their practice and their communities by partnering with the national AAPA organization, exchanging ideas with other state PA chapters, and improving our partnerships with our CAPA members - all of you! With these partnerships, CAPA is empowered to push PA issues to the forefront at many levels.

On the national level, CAPA partnered with the AAPA to push for legislative changes which now allow PAs to order and manage home health care for their patients, and we are still pushing for legislative changes that would allow PA direct payment from Medicare. We are pushing forward to continue the current regulation expansions occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic which support PA’s ability to practice to the top of the clinical expertise and provide high-quality and effective healthcare in our communities. We are pushing back on statements from medical organizations that imply PAs should not be leaders of medical teams even when they are highly qualified and the local experts. This is not the way it should be. (Click here to learn more about AAPA's Communications with the Federal Executive Branch)

On the state level, CAPA’s Government Affairs Committee worked with our lobbyist to clarify language in the state statute related to PA malpractice requirements. (Visit Physician Assistants Financial Responsibility Requirements: HB20-1041 for more information). In addition to working with our lobbyist, we closely partner with our AAPA State Advocacy and Outreach Director, Erika Miller, who supports our state initiatives with resources from the AAPA and her knowledge of work in other state chapters. Also at the state level, CAPA representatives attend the Colorado Medical Board meetings and keep apprised of any issues that impact PA practice.

On the local level, CAPA is working to improve our partnership with you, our members. We have moved to an improved website platform and are working to improve member accessibility and resources. We also are sponsoring a PA Professional Day on October 3rd, 2020 – our first virtual event! For our annual CME event, we are looking at several options to bring desired continuing education to our members but with a different look than our past, traditional conferences.

Your CAPA leaders, committee members, and student volunteers are not settling into a new normal; We are pushing forward to improve the PA profession in Colorado. Thank you for your support and it is our pleasure to serve.


Kandace Shepherd, MS, PA-C

President, CAPA 2020-2021

Read Governor Polis' PA Week Proclamation


Thank you to all who attended CAPA's

PA Professional Day

CAPA kicked off PA week with learning and networking with fellow Colorado PAs!

CAPA's one-day, virtual conference included non-medical CME sessions related to PA professional practice, including telehealth, precepting and more. The event was completely virtual with live question and answer sessions at the end of each lecture. 

Has your membership lapsed? Be sure to keep your membership active and keep receiving CAPA correspondence, supporting PA advocacy in the state and have access to CAPA events and CME opportunities!

Visit the Membership Page to renew or log-in to your CAPA account.


Coffee with CAPA

October 12th, 7:00 - 8:00 P.M.

We invite you to a discussion about what CAPA has been up to the past year and updates on Colorado PA issues. This is an informal, virtual event that will provide opportunity to meet CAPA leaders, learn about currently projects, and discuss plans for the upcoming year.

Grab a colleague and a cup of coffee and join us for  a conversation with your Colorado PAs colleagues. Click here to register.

Check out our new changes

CAPA has undergone some recent changes. Check out our updated website and new contact info:

Colorado Academy of PAs

PO Box 100356

Denver, CO 80250




Looking to get involved?

Click here to learn about joining a committee

Pre-PA Information Session

Current PA students in Colorado and practicing PA from the CAPA board will be holding a FREE, virtual information session open to anyone who is interested in Colorado PA programs.  Topics to be discussed include the role of PAs in health care, the application process, general application requirements, and what it is like to be a PA and a PA student.  There will also be time for questions at the end.   Please register here to receive a Zoom link and password to access the event.  We look forward to seeing you then!

Legislative Update

Alyn Whelchel, GAC Co-Chair and President-Elect

The CAPA Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) continues to be active on behalf of PAs in Colorado. The Pandemic shed light on some important issues affecting PAs in our state and the nation. We have all come to realize how valuable health care workers are and how necessary our profession is for the future of medicine and patient care. AAPA and state chapters have highlighted incredible stories of PAs on the front lines selflessly aiding patients. Unfortunately, we have also heard of underemployment and job loss for our PA colleagues as a result of the pandemic. CAPA and the Governmental Affairs Committee has worked hard to stay connected with PAs and help where we can. We reached out to PAs to gather information on specific needs of our community and wrote to Governor Polis to extend executive orders and preliminary licensing to support PAs. We also sent a letter in support of the Colorado Physician Health Program (CPHP). This is not the time to change the support systems we all need to stay healthy during this unprecedented and stressful time.

We all know the practice of medicine is defined at the state level, and because of this it is vital to connect and educate those who will potentially advocate for our profession by supporting legislation introduced by CAPA to improve the practice of PAs in Colorado. CAPA recently joined forces with AAPA to send a request to thousands of PAs in our state to join our grassroots effort to connect with those who pass the laws in Colorado.

Please join us to advocate for our profession with your legislators. No one can explain who we are and what we can do for patients better than us. A copy of the email message follows:

CAPA needs you! We are seeking a PA Grassroots Advocate in each state Senate and House District

The Colorado Academy of Physician Assistants (CAPA) is seeking at least one PA advocate to lead relationship building in each state Senate and House district. 

What can you do? Reach out to your state legislators, introduce yourself, and offer to serve as a resource. You’ll be asked to make an initial contact now, and then engage as needed based on CAPA’s state legislative priorities. We will not overburden you or bombard you with asks. Our intent is to ensure CAPA has a strong well-developed PA network with legislators, and that works best when legislators know you – a PA in their community!  

How will CAPA train you and help you? CAPA will offer training including making sure you know who your state legislators and/or candidates are, providing specific talking points, answering questions, and providing any additional support you need. 

Why is this important?  Remember that old adage, “all politics is local”?  It’s famous for good reason; It’s true. Your legislator is responsible for crafting policies that impact you professionally and personally. Once you develop a strong relationship with him or her, they will turn to you for input on matters you are most knowledgeable about and almost always vote the way of those they are closest to in their district.

Interested?  Please fill out the form on our website: https://coloradopas.org/grassroots 

Also, if you are interested, but have less time, keep an eye on CAPA’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and let us know if you want to be added to our volunteer list.

Please seriously consider joining us to advocate for our profession. CAPA and the Governmental Affairs Committee sincerely thank all of you for your interest, energy, and passion for advancing our profession this year and for years to come.

Thank you to all of those who participated in the

CAPA Annual Member Survey! 

Your responses help us as an organization to provide the best services to you as a member and support you in your PA career. Your responses are valued and will help with strategic planning and legislative planning for 2021.

Black lives matter.

CAPA stands with you, we kneel with you, we will work to hear and amplify your voices. The healthcare dimension of racism is one that needs attention and collective acknowledgement in order to be changed. We strive to be a resource for support, an outlet for suggestions and advice, and a force that will help drive the change we need in our communities and healthcare systems.

We believe in access to and delivery of quality medical care for Coloradans and promote a commitment to team – based care to enhance the health and wellness of the people of Colorado. CAPA pledges to embrace an individual’s right to be heard regardless of race, color, social class, status, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical ability, or religious belief. Diverse voices are needed to meet the challenges and find solutions. CAPA supports diversity, equity, multiculturalism and promotion of justice in our PA education, our PA profession and our healthcare community.

Your responses help us as an organization to provide the best services to you as a member and support you in your PA career. Your responses are valued and will help with strategic planning and legislative planning for 2021.

Reimbursement Pearls

Josh Borgstadt, Reimbursement Committee Chair

2021 E/M Documentation Changes

Changes are effective January 1, 2021 and apply to new and established outpatient visits only. Four levels of E/M are based on Medical Decision Making (MDM) and time. 99211 and 99201 have been deleted.

Level of service based on...

Medical Decision Making (MDM)

  • Problems: one versus multiple, severity, acute vs chronic, stable vs exacerbation
  • Data: Review of external notes, number of tests ordered or reviewed, independent interpretation of tests
  • Risks: Number and type of management options, the risk to the patient, socioeconomic limitations, level of needed care (outpatient/inpatient)


  • Includes face to face time and non face to face time of the clinician
  • Examples of work that can contribute to time ▪ Evaluating and examining the patient ▪ Ordering medications, tests, or procedures ▪ Reviewing medical records and independently interpreting results (if not reported separately) ▪ Documenting in the health record ▪ Communicating with patients or family ▪ Communicating with other health care professionals ▪ Arranging care coordination

All of Us Research Program

A partnership of CAPA with the National Institute of Health

CAPA is partnering with other state PA chapters, the AAPA,  many national medical organizations and medical centers across the country (including Mayo Clinic, Scripps) to promote participation in the All of Us Research Program.

  • This is an unprecedented NIH research program focused on recognizing the diversity of patients and propelling medical research with data from at least 1 million participants.  All of Us is the cornerstone of the Precision Medicine Initiative that was launched in January 2015 with a goal of moving forward the concepts of precision medicine.
  • The program is open to people both healthy and sick and from all communities. And unlike a single research study focused on a specific disease or population, All of Us will serve as a national research resource to inform thousands of studies, covering a wide variety of health conditions.

The information provided by participants can vary, from survey information to analysis of biological samples to medical record sharing, based on their level of participation desired. 

Participants also can have access to their data and the some of the analysis of the cohorts!  Unlike most research, participants will have their data available to them.  The data is also available to researchers across the country!  The researchers apply to access the databanks, thus providing non-competitive open access to information. 

Participant security is optimized and secured.  Communication of security and access is robust, so participants understand their personal protections. 

CAPA supports the All of Us Program. Please consider participating in and sharing this fascinating and important program with your patients, colleagues, and friends.  For more information, you can visit the Join All of Us website to learn all about the program – expectations, browse frequently asked questions, the process, and much more. 

Additional Video-Resource Links

All of Us Anthem 

Director's Address to Participants

Colorado Mesa University PA Program

By Danielle Pelletier, PA-S1

Our inaugural cohort began clinicals in July, and students are working in communities all across Western Colorado. After many weeks of postponement, the inaugural class held their pinning ceremony and received their short white coats and Colorado Mesa University PA pins alongside family, friends, and faculty. After completing their first three rotations, students returned to campus for a weeklong clinical competency camp, which included grand rounds presentations where each student presented a case that they were a part of on clinicals. The class of 2022 had the opportunity to attend and learn from these presentations as well. 

The class of 2022 has been attending classes on campus since late June. It has been refreshing to see our classmates and professors in person, and we are slowly adapting to the new reality of masks, sanitizing, and smaller groups for labs. In order to return to school, CMU created a mandatory online course that provided information regarding COVID-19 to students and faculty. Five of our first year Physician Assistant students, Bryan Anderson, Amanda Cheetham, Paulina Good, Jessica Page, and Michael VanWyngarden, joined this effort as course coordinators by providing research on numerous topics including typical COVID symptoms and knowing when to report them, hygiene safety, importance of mask wearing and social distancing, and myth-busting. These students aimed to reduce the uncertainty of returning to campus and provide more information on how to keep our community safe and healthy.

As we are transitioning back to in person class, we have had some opportunities for community outreach. A group of students worked with Project C.U.R.E. in Grand Junction to sort medical supplies to be delivered to hospitals and clinics throughout the under-resourced world. Others have had the opportunity to spend a day at The Good Samaritan Clinic, a free clinic in Grand Junction that provides healthcare to the medically underserved. Here, students were able to interact with the community and complete physical exams.

While many of us had planned to spend a weekend at Roundup River Ranch, a summer camp in Gypsum, CO, that allows campers with serious illnesses to feel like ordinary kids, COVID had a different plan. I, however, had the opportunity to participate in an online Family Camp dancing, singing and interacting virtually with a group of families for the weekend. It was an incredible experience and we are hopeful that we will be able to attend camp in person next year.

As we finish up cardiology, some of our students had the opportunity to spend a few hours in the Cath Lab at St. Mary’s Hospital watching an ablation for atrial fibrillation and an angiography for a patient with aortic stenosis. It was exciting to see the real-life application of the material we have been studying. We are looking forward to more opportunities to immerse ourselves in our community and are excited to continue to grow as a program!

Rocky Vista University PA Program

By Blair Feldhouse and Ashleigh Mueller

Hello from RVU! These past 6 months have been a huge adjustment for everyone in school, and the PA program at Rocky Vista is no different. Our staff and students have been working tirelessly to make the transition to online school and virtual rotations as smooth as possible and have done an amazing job adapting to the circumstances.

We have worked hard to maintain our sense of community despite these challenges. Our program has been offering monthly “dialogue-with-the-director” meetings to keep us up to date on changes throughout this pandemic and allow us to ask questions. Our advisors have been working closely with each student to make sure they are able to physically and mentally adapt to these challenges and to make sure no student is falling behind in their education. Group chats have been a vital tool both between and within cohorts in order to keep in touch, ask questions, and maintain morale.

The class of 2020 was able to return to rotations starting in July and August. They are finishing up their clinical year and will be returning to Parker, CO soon to take their end-of-program exams and present their research projects before graduation in November. We are so excited to see RVU’s inaugural class graduate and will be cheering them on as they finish up their time with RVU. It has not been an easy path for our peers, but this journey will certainly make them more resilient and flexible PAs as they will soon enter into their careers. They have worked so hard these past couple years and have set the expectations high for the subsequent classes to follow!

The class of 2021 was able to return to Parker in June to take their socially-distanced, end-of-didactic exams before being dispersed all over Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Arizona to start their clinical rotations. Because of COVID our clinical team was challenged to find in person rotations for our entire class and many of our students participated in online clinicals this summer. Most of the class is now in rotations and will be for the foreseeable future. We are working hard to adapt to this situation, but we are thankful to be able to safely get hands on learning opportunities.

RVU has just welcomed the class of 2022 who will be attending PA school virtually this year. They have a challenging road ahead of them but have been communicating with the class of 2021 for guidance on study habits as well as tips and tricks to be successful in PA school. They will likely have the opportunity to come together for socially distanced skills labs later in the year, but for now they are working toward that white coat from home! We wish them the best in their studies this year and will be supporting them virtually along this journey.

RVU staff and faculty have been dealing with the challenges of being a new program while adapting to the dynamic situation of a pandemic. Their main focus throughout the year has been student safety and education. We have been thankful to be a part of a program that looks at their students in a holistic manner and is understanding of the struggles of the pandemic. Their goal is to create clinically competent, collaborative, and compassionate physician assistants, and we as a student body believe they are certainly achieving this goal.

University of Colorado PA Program

Alyssa Morgan and Rachel Briscoe with Claudia Stewart

A day in the life of a CHAPAlete:

Q: Introduce yourself Claudia! Where are you from? What year are you? Current hobbies?

A: Hi! I am Claudia Stewart, a first year CHAPA student from Clive, Iowa. I just graduated from the University of Iowa with a BS in Human Physiology. For my patient contact hours, I previously worked as a nursing assistant at the University of Iowa Hospital and worked with children who have special needs. I love yoga, being outside, reading, and I am very excited for ski season!

Q: What is a CHAPAlete? Who is on the team?

A: CHAPAletes is a challenge bowl team made up of a number of 1st and 2nd year CHAPA students that practices and competes in a team-based competitive format testing our medical knowledge.

Q: Do you compete against other PA programs around CO? Around the US?

A: I am new to the team so I don’t know all the details but yes ideally (COVID-19 conditions pending) we compete with against other PA programs. I know last year they won at the CAPA competition.

Q: Are you competitive in nature? Did you compete in any academic competitions in undergrad?

A: I would definitely say I am competitive in nature. I grew up as the middle of 3 sisters and everything was made into a competition. I love a time crunch and practicing performing. I did not however compete in any academic competitions in undergrad.

Q: How are things going so far? Has your team had any meetings or competitions?

A: It has been good so far! We just started this year, so we have only really had one official practice but it went well and I am excited for the rest of the year!


with Claudia

Q: Has participating in this club helped you learn the material during school better?

A: I definitely think it will, and extra practice can never hurt.

Q: How has COVID affected the way the club works?

A: Normally the club meets in person each Wednesday but now we are meeting via Zoom. They definitely had to get creative to find ways to practice over Zoom but the use of Kahoot helps.

Q: If someone wanted to join, where would they get the information to do so?

A: Karin Muggli and Emma Fridley are the second year captains of the team so I would reach out to them.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a CHAPAlete?

A: So far, I have just really enjoyed getting to spend time with some 2nd year students! It is fun to be able to work through questions with them as some of the material is fresher to us and others we haven’t even learned yet.

More next month…

Red Rocks Community College PA Program

Eric Meiklejohn, PA-S2 and Brenna Woods, PA-S


The class of 2020 is hard at work getting the final clinical experiences needed to graduate. In the coming months, they will submit their final capstone research projects, patient logs, and volunteer hours. Each student of the 2020 cohort has worked hard and adapted with challenges from the Coronavirus pandemic.


The class of 2021 has finished the didactic portion of their education. After much needed rest and celebration, they are beginning their clinical rotations. A portion of the cohort is seeing patients in clinical experiences while the other portion is focusing on fall block didactic work and capstone research.  


The class of 2022 begins their education to become physician assistants. It wasn’t easy to modify the courses to accommodate socially-distant learning, but the students are beginning their education on a hybrid model so they can continue to get hands on experience in labs and group learning activities.

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