Winter 2022   

Greetings from your CAPA president. CAPA had a very productive 2021 and plans an even more eventful 2022. We introduced HB22-1095 and look forward to our CME conference March 4-6th in Estes Park. We just offered a wonderful Navigating New talk of PA resume building and look forward to other CAPA events.

We strive to continue to support the PAs of Colorado in education, legislation and membership. We appreciate the continued support of Colorado PAs with your membership and personal advocacy for our profession.

Please know there are many opportunities for all PAs to get involved. A great place to start is continuing your CAPA membership and encouraging your colleagues to join. Please look for opportunities to join your colleagues by volunteering for a committee, attending a virtual town hall or participating in other CAPA events.

We are also asking all PAs to reach out to your legislators, please use the link below to share your support of HB22-1095.

As always, you are invited to the CAPA table! Every PA, PA student and pre-PA in Colorado is welcome. Consider yourself invited! Please feel free to review the information below and look forward to another great year for PAs in our state.


Alyn Whelchel, MSPA, PA-C

President, CAPA 2021-2022

CAPA has been hard at work this past year in supporting PA practice in Colorado and access to care for all Coloradans.

Here are a few highlights of the work CAPA has done on behalf of Colorado PAs in 2021:

    • Presented CAPA’s award winning grassroots program at the AAPA conference May 2021
  • Persistently advocated in state and federal capacities: 
    • Ran bill in 2021 Colorado legislative session: HB21-1184
      • Advocated for the removal of formal supervision for experienced PAs, thus modernizing PA practice laws to better reflect what we all do every day in clinical practice.
      • Met with the Colorado Medical Society, the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Emergency Physicians to raise awareness of PA roles in medicine and the importance of collaboration between members of health care teams.
    • Testified at the state capital to provide input on legislation important to PAs
      • HB21-1184 - Physician Assistant Collaboration and Reimbursement
      • HB21-1005 - Health Care Services Reserve Corps Task Force
      • SB21-158 - Increase Medical Providers For Senior Citizens
      • Ensured PA representation in the legislative arena.
    • Represented PAs in the 27-65 stakeholder process jointly hosted by Mental Health Colorado and the Office of Behavioral Health
    • Met with Colorado Representatives and Senators throughout the year to educate law makers on the important and contribution of Colorado PAs in access to care and service to the people of our state.  
    • Attended Colorado Medical Board quarterly and stakeholder meetings on permanent rule making to represent Colorado PAs.
    • Provided multiple opportunities for member engagement via a virtual zoom platform
      • Legislative Updates
      • Title Change Updates
      • Grassroots training
      • CAPA CHAT
      • Open access to CAPA Board-of-Director meetings
      • Pre-PA Information Sessions
  • Advocated for Colorado Physician Health Program which resulted in CPHP regaining the contract with DORA and maintenance of confidentiality for providers seeking assistance.

  • Attended AAPA STAR Reimbursement calls with dissemination of information around federal updates in reimbursement issues for PAs.

  • Awarded AAPA Advocacy Grant for pursuit of legislative changes in 2022.

  • Recognized two outstanding PAs and two PA Students with the annual CAPA Awards.

  • Provided quarterly newsletters and maintained other communication platforms.

  • Hosted Coffee with CAPA virtual meeting to provide CAPA updates and chance to connect with CAPA leadership (October 2021), with plans for further opportunities for engagement with CAPA coming in 2022.

  • The Student Affairs Committee conducted the annual Silent Auction at the Spring CME conference, competed in Challenge Bowl (congrats to the winning team from CHAPA), continued the CAPA Student Lecture Series, and conducted Pre-PA Info Sessions for those considering the PA profession.

We sincerely appreciate your support and continued dedication to your practice, your patients and your profession. Thank you for your past and continued support! 

We look forward to continuing this important work with you on behalf of Colorado PAs and patients in 2022, and wish you a great start to the New Year!


CAPA Board of Directors

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.


Join your colleagues March 4th, 5th, and 6th in Estes Park, Colorado, at The Ridgeline Hotel-Estes Park, Ascend Hotel Collection! Click here to register for the annual CAPA CME Conference filled with workshops, networking opportunities, and a chance to getaway!

Click here for the agenda.

We need your help!

Physician Assistant Collaboration Requirements bill has been introduced in the 2022 Colorado 73rd General Assembly.

HB22-1095 will change the relationship between a PA and a physician from supervision to collaboration for PAs with less experience or who are working in a new specialty, establish collaboration requirements and require PAs with more experience to consult with the PA's healthcare team.

Please join us for a CAPA Legislative Town Hall. It will be held virtually on Thursday, February 17th at 7:00pm to learn more about this legislation and how you can help advocate for the PA profession in Colorado. (Click here for info. and to register). This is an important and exciting time to be a PA! CAPA looks forward to working with all Colorado PAs in this initiative.

Click here for a summary of the bill on the Colorado General Assembly's website.

Click here for CAPA's fact sheet on the bill along with frequently asked questions.

Your voice matters! Use this form to send a personalized email to your legislators about the importance of modernizing PA practice in the state of Colorado!  Reach out to your colleagues and contacts to tell them what this legislation means for you. You can forward the link to the form above. Just a couple minutes of your time can make a big difference!  If you need some motivation, click here to listen to the testimony from the committee hearing for HB21-1184, the last bill we introduced in our attempt to modernize PA practice in Colorado. 

For more information regarding current rules and regulations for PAs in Colorado, visit our website: Colorado PA Rules and Regulations. (The Colorado Medical Practice Act, Colorado Medical Board Rule 400).

COPIC Corner

by Eric Zacharias, M.D.

COPIC Patient Safety and Risk Management


SCENARIO A: Pre-existing physician-patient relationships


Your 47-year-old patient self-referred for a heart scan after his older brother had a myocardial infarction. You have taken care of this patient for at least 20 years and you last saw him three years ago for a routine physical exam that was unremarkable including normal labs. He also saw a cardiologist approximately five years prior to evaluate palpitations. The heart scan results revealed an Agatston score of over 300, placing the patient in the highest risk category for coronary heart disease and future myocardial infarction. Your office received a fax with the results from the walk-in heart scan clinic.

In this case, since there is an existing physician-patient relationship, you should assume responsibility for contacting the patient to discuss the meaning of the results and a plan of action. This could be an office appointment, a telehealth visit, or a phone conversation. Alternatively, you could refer the patient to the appropriate specialist for interpretation of the test result and determining the course of action, regardless of whether the patient self-referred for the test.

Additionally, you should not assume that the cardiologist who the patient saw before has either received the heart scan results or is acting upon them (even if the report explicitly states a copy is being sent there). Since you have direct knowledge of the at-risk test result, the best practice would be to follow up with the patient directly and not assume some other physician is following up.

Although the preceding scenario would not warrant urgent evaluation, the test results do reveal potential risk factors for major adverse events such as heart attacks or strokes. Arranging for

communication with the patients regarding results and next steps, even though you did not request the tests, ensures appropriate follow up occurs.

You may be in a physician-patient relationship that is not necessarily obvious. For example, accepting a capitated payment from a health plan on behalf of a patient may establish a physician-patient relationship regardless of whether you’ve actually seen that patient. You should be aware of this potential issue in your practice setting.

SCENARIO B: No established physician-patient relationship

If no relationship exists, you may choose whether or not to accept the patient into your practice:

·         If you accept the patient, first contact the patient and assume all the obligations of interpretation, monitoring, and follow-up of the diagnostic test.

·         If you choose not to enter into a physician-patient relationship, return the original test to its source or the diagnostic center responsible for it. If you do this, use a statement such as “This is not a patient in our practice. Please use your data to inform the patient for appropriate physician referral or follow-up.”

This action would also be appropriate if you receive tests results in error (e.g., by fax or mail). Calling the sender directly to notify them of the misdirected result has the best chance of getting the information to the patient and the proper provider for appropriate treatment and follow-up. Critical test results may require more diligence to ensure the information gets to the appropriate provider in a timely manner.

What should you do for documentation in this scenario?

Although there is no legal duty, in the interest of patient safety there are some suggested steps you should take in returning an unsolicited diagnostic test:

·         You should keep a log that documents the date the test was received, the patient’s name, the action taken in returning the test to the sender, and who the sender is.

·         It is recommended that you fax the test information back so you will have documentation that the information was faxed to the appropriate test source and received.

Click here for Within Normal Limits, a podcast produced by COPIC that focuses on a wide variety of risk management, patient safety, and professional liability issues. 

Click here to access a collection of resources COPIC has gathered and/or created to help medical providers and facilities with addressing Covid-19.

Colorado PA Programs Update

Colorado Mesa University Physician Assistant Program

Starting this January CMU PA Program moves into their new home at the St. Mary’s Medical Education Center. This new building brings state-of-the-art technology and recourses for staff and students that are sure to enhance the educational experience for all. This is a big step for our program, and we hope you all share in the excitement with us as we continue to grow and create footholds in our community. We are thankful to have the support of St. Mary’s Medical Center and the CMU Foundation for their donation and support. Additionally, in January, we welcome the CMU MPAS class of 2024, as they begin their journey to becoming PAs. This is our largest class yet at 28 students, and their new energy and charisma will push us forward to conquer the year ahead. We are 5 months away from graduating from our class of 2022. They continue to amaze us on rotations with their compassion, competency, and skills. We are eagerly awaiting what this year will bring them as they cross the threshold to PA-C! And finally, our class of 2023 is in the final stretch of didactic. They will begin the semester with the musculoskeletal system and they are itching to get going after a nice winter break.

Red Rocks Community College Physician Assistant Program

Here at Red Rocks, we watched as the class of 2021 graduated in November. We are excited to see what the future holds for the cohort, and we look forward to seeing them practice in the community.

The class of 2022 is currently in the midst of their fourth clinical rotation. They are in clinics all over Colorado, Wyoming, and some even venturing as far as North Dakota. While keeping up with their own busy schedules, they have been hosting fun and educational activities like the “Trick or Treat Endocrinology Trivia” for the class of 2023. Overall, we cannot wait to see all they accomplish before graduation this year.

The class of 2023 is looking forward to starting another semester of didactic year. The winter break provided the ’23 cohort with some time to reflect on how far they have come since last August when they started. This semester there are plenty of opportunities for the cohort to volunteer and learn at Community Table Health Clinic. Their busy schedules don’t stop them from making sure they set aside some time for their own physical and mental health. The wellness committee has plenty of hikes and outdoor activities planned for the upcoming semester.

Lastly, our hearts go out to all effected by the Marshall Fire. We thank all those who bravely serve our community.

Rocky Vista University Physician Assistant Program

Hello from Rocky Vista!

As the class of ‘23 begins their second and final semester of didactics, we are excited to celebrate the graduation of the class of ‘21 as we follow in the footsteps of the class of ‘22 by entering into clinical rotations this coming June.

While Covid-19 continues to present the world with new and recurring challenges, the RVU community remains optimistic in the face of these unprecedented times. No matter what class we belong to, our shared passion to become the next generation of PA leaders offers unity in taking care of the communities we hold dear. 

We want to give thanks to the amazing healthcare workers helping our community persevere in spite of the omicron variant and send a little love back to our families and pets that are a constant source of joy in our lives.

Finally, we would like to give a shout out to our Class of ‘23 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Representative Louise Hill-Stirling, who was gracious enough to give us insight into her position:

“My role allows me to work with other students and faculty to address diversity concerns on campus and provide educational opportunities to staff and students. Our educational series focuses on trauma-informed care and offers a forum for fellow students to share their experiences and struggles with diversity. I have a strong belief that diversifying healthcare providers will ultimately encourage medically underserved communities to seek additional care, thereby promoting equity and improving health outcomes on a large scale.”

Follow us on Instagram and on Facebook to see what RVU and our PA program is up to!

University of Colorado Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant Program

CHA/PA faculty, professor, and our resident “Crazy Book Lady,” Tanya Fernandez PA-C, is passionate about making all kids love to read. This passion has evolved into her support of the Reach Out and Read Program which provides children between 6 months and 5 years of age a brand-new, developmentally appropriate book at their well child visits. She discovered that children looked forward to receiving these books during checks and were disappointed when they aged out of the program. Nevertheless, Tanya created her own office library that provided books for her patients whenever they came into her office, well child check or not. 

Tanya continues to work to provide as many children with books as she possibly can. Tanya asked me and the other members of the CHA/PA Program’s Silver Society Community Service Team, Bryan, Catelyn, Ciara, and Megan, to support her efforts by hosting a book drive to collect gently used books for our long-time community partner Salud Family Health Center. Salud focuses on providing a quality integrated healthcare home for low-income, medically underserved populations as well as the migrant and seasonal farmworker population. They are committed to providing care to all community members regardless of finances, insurance coverage, or ability to pay. The CHA/PA program collected 2,868 books for Salud Family Health Center. These extra books provide Salud with waiting room reads, books for siblings who have aged out of the program and children with regular office visits. We know these books will be greatly appreciated by all the kids who receive them and will be well-loved into the future. We are so thankful for everyone who donated books to benefit all the kids who visit Salud!

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(720) 515-4480

Denver, Colorado

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