• Home
  • Winter 2020 Newsletter

December 2020

Table of Contents:

  • President's Perspective
  • Capitol Connection: Governmental Affairs Committee Update
  • CAPA|NIH Collaboration: All of Us Research Program
  • Reimbursement Pearls
  • 2020 AAPA House of Delegates Virtual Meeting: Title Change Investigation
  • Student Updates
  • Announcements

Hello CAPA members!

As the year of 2020 comes to a close, it is important to reflect on our careers as PAs and how we are able to positively impact healthcare in our state and our country.  PAs have been volunteering their expertise, working extra shifts and schedules, providing expert medical care to patients, and leading our healthcare teams.  PA leaders are emerging on the frontline of clinical care like never before, as our skills and leadership abilities become more evident in these times of exceptional need.

For 2020, CAPA focused on understanding the needs of PAs and of its members.  The member surveys you have received this year and will receive this upcoming year are extremely important for our ability to address the needs of PAs in Colorado.  We hear your feedback on membership needs, continuing education products, and what you think is important for supporting PA practice.  Thank you for participating in these surveys – and please continue to respond so we can serve your needs!

For 2021, the Government Affairs and the Continuing Medical Education Committees will be very busy.  We will continue to update our members on their work and bring you virtual CME programming for Spring.  Communications will come via email, social media, CAPA website postings, and our quarterly CAPA Consult newsletter.  We also welcome individual communication and can be contacted at info@coloradopas.org.

I am proud to be a PA.  I am proud of CAPA and its work to expand PA practice opportunities at the legislature level and to grow PAs' abilities to lead their healthcare teams and systems.  I hope that you are feeling the same and look forward with us to continue positive impact on the growth of our profession.

Take care this upcoming year.  

 ~ Happy Holidays and Happy New Year ~

Kandace Shepherd, MS, PA-C

President, CAPA 2020-2021

Quick Links

Reimbursement Briefs

E/M Services in 2021


Notice our new fresh look?

CAPA has undergone some recent changes. We updated the website and have 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

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.

Alyn Whelchel, GAC Co-Chair and President-Elect

The CAPA Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) continues to work hard on behalf of PAs in the state of Colorado. We strongly believe that PAs in our state provide vital medical care and education for many patients in a multitude of settings. By supporting PAs, we also support patients and access to care. Every year is an opportunity for us to work together to advance change that positively impacts PAs and the patients we serve. We very much look forward to the start of the next legislative session January 13th, 2021.

2020 Governmental Affairs Highlights:

  • Attended Governor Polis’ Covid Task Force Meeting in November. State Government PA representation is important to our profession and continues to be a priority for CAPA .   
  • Passed House Bill 1041 – This ensures that PAs can maintain their current malpractice policies while allowing PAs in the state with greater than 3 years of experience to uncouple liability from their supervising physician.
  • Submitted a letter to Governor Polis in support of the Emergency Order (EO) allowing greater flexibility for practicing PAs in the context of the pandemic.
  • Advocated for continuing to use Colorado Physician Health Program (CPHP) by writing letters to the Governor, officially and publicly backing CPHP, with plans to testify on their behalf before the Colorado Medical Board, if needed.
  • We continue to collaborate with the AAPA to develop and implement a state-wide Grassroots Advocacy Program to educate lawmakers about our profession and the importance of the needed changes to move our profession forward and remove unnecessary barriers to PA practice and patient care. 
  • We are in the process of meeting with other state organizations representing the teams we work with on a daily basis, such as physicians and nurses.
  • We continue to attend Colorado Medical Board meetings to ensure PA representation and monitor state legislative changes that may affect our profession.

CAPA and the Governmental Affairs Committee sincerely thank all of you for your engagement, energy, and passion for advancing our profession in 2020. 

Please join us in advocating for our profession with your legislators!

No one can better explain who Physician Assistants are and what we can do for patients.

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 such as making sure you know who your state legislators and/or candidates are, provide specific talking points, and stand ready to answer any questions and additional support you need. 

Why is this important?  Remember that old adage, “all politics is local”?  It’s famous for good reason: because 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 most close 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/Instagram/Twitter and contact us to be on our volunteer list.

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

The mission of the program is to accelerate health research and medical breakthroughs, enabling individualized prevention, treatment, and care for all of us.

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, explore the process, and much more. 

Click on these

Additional Resource Links

FAQs, COVID Infographic, How to Sign Up, Program Brochure

Reimbursement Pearls

Josh Borgstadt, Reimbursement Committee Chair

2021 E/M Documentation Changes

Please be aware that changes are coming to E/M documentation requirements per CMS. CMS decreased emphasis on HPI and placed more emphasis on the amount of time reviewing data and acuity of a visit.

Click here to view the Evaluation and Management Services in 2021 presentation available on Learning Central.

To register for the AAPA Category 1 CME credit, to covers the new code structure for new and established outpatient E/M services, which will be in effect starting the first of the year, please click here.

Reimbursement Briefs

AAPA has created three reimbursement briefs for review on the AAPA reimbursement website.

Click on these

Additional Resource Links:

Reimbursement Resources by AAPA

CMS 2021 Physician Fee Schedule


    The 2020 American Academy of PAs (AAPA) House of Delegates (HOD) meeting was held virtually on November 20, 2020. The majority of the day was devoted to discussion surrounding the title change investigation (TCI). During prior HOD meetings, many PAs voiced concern that the title “Physician Assistant” does not appropriately describe our role in health care and was confusing to our patients and to the healthcare team. A resolution was passed during the 2018 HOD meeting to investigate the implications and ramifications of a title change for the profession. AAPA hired WPP, a communications, advertising, and public relations firm, to investigate if our title should be changed and, if indicated, to provide recommendations for that change. After the first year of investigation, findings were presented at the 2019 HOD meetings with recommendations to consider a potential title change. After an additional year of investigation, WPP’s conclusions were presented at the 2020 HOD meeting. The full report can be found on the AAPA website and is accessible to all AAPA members (https://www.aapa.org/title-change-investigation/). We highly recommend that you look at the entire report as it will explain the specifics and the depths to which WPP investigated the "Physician Assistant" title and how they came to their conclusions. A detailed timeline of the TCI can be found on the AAPA website.

    In short, WPP found that there was confusion and ambiguity regarding the title “Physician Assistant” and recommended that a title change was appropriate. Multiple titles were investigated and the top four were selected for ongoing investigation. These were Physician Associate, Medical Care Practitioner, Praxician, and Clinicist. WPP’s goal was to find a title that aligned with the care that could be expected from a PA. Clinicist and Praxician were new titles that did not align well with the description of a PA, and were too confusing. Therefore, the top two recommendations were Medical Care Practitioner and Physician Associate. From their findings, PAs were largely in favor of Physician Associate. Other stakeholders (patients, physicians, and employers) were largely in favor of Medical Care Practitioner. These stakeholders felt Medical Care Practitioner was more descriptive of a PAs role and what we do. They also felt that Physician Associate was a more junior title and did not support the high role of autonomy many PAs have. Given how close they are, the title Physician Associate would likely carry all the preconceived notions of "Physician Assistant", both good and bad. Their formal recommendation is that the official title be changed to Medical Care Practitioner. 

    Legal and financial ramifications were also investigated by the AAPA and their conclusions can be found in the complete TCI report. While no legal ramifications are expected, a global title change will take many years to complete. Following the TCI presentation and a Q&A session, the remaining business of the HOD was conducted, including consideration of submitted resolutions and policy changes. Because of the abbreviated and virtual nature of the meeting, any resolutions that required discussion have been tabled for the May 2021 HOD meeting. The final HOD report on these resolutions is available on the HOD page on the AAPA website.

    Moving forward it is VITAL that the CAPA HOD delegation hears from you! We are certain there will be numerous resolutions presented to the May 2021 HOD regarding the title change and it is the job of CAPA’s delegation to accurately reflect the thoughts and opinions of Colorado PAs. In the coming months, there will be surveys and town hall opportunities to further the discussion. In the mean time, please do not hesitate to reach out to CAPA anytime with your thoughts and concerns at info@coloradopas.org.


    Alysia Wiley

    Chief Delegate 2020-2021

    Congratulations to CAPA PA Rachel Weinzimmer!

    CAPA Chief Delegate-Elect and previous CAPA President Rachel Weinzimmer was elected to the AAPA Nominating Work Group.  This group is responsible for evaluating and endorsing candidates running for positions on the AAPA Board of Directors.  This workgroup is also charged with educating AAPA membership on the endorsement process. 

    Student Affairs Committee Update

    Annalise Grammerstorf, PA-S2, Student Director

    The Student Affairs Committee moved their Pre-PA events to Zoom this semester; students from the four Colorado programs and practicing PAs from the CAPA Board of Directors held two Pre-PA Information Sessions in which they provided insight into the PA profession and applying to PA school. Afterwards, participants had the opportunity to ask questions.  It was a great opportunity for prospective students to learn from those who have been there as well as for current PA students and professionals to educate the public on this wonderful field.

    The Committee also put together the first-ever “CAPA Student Lecture Series” events. The first two presentations for Student Members included “Human Trafficking in Colorado” by Kara Napolitano from the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking and “Providing Medical Care with Consideration for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI)” by CAPA Delegate Cooper Couch PA-C. Both lectures were incredibly insightful and provided coverage of important topics not thoroughly covered in many medical programs. Thank you to everyone who participated in these events.

    If you are interested in speaking or know someone who has an interesting topic to present please contact: 


    Colorado PA Programs Update

    Tyler Anderson, PA-S1, and Danielle Pelletier, PA-S1

    Happy winter from the Colorado Mesa University PA Program!

    Our inaugural cohort is continuing their clinical rotations at sites in communities across Western Colorado. Many students have completed Ground Rounds presentations and they continue to gain valuable skills as they prepare to transition to practicing PAs. Their final graduation date is scheduled for May 21, 2021.

    CMU has adapted their Clinical Skills course in order for students to get the hands-on expertise needed for clinicals despite current COVID restrictions. Students have been placed into groups of 5-6, denoted as their “Mavily” and come into lab at their specific times. Since September, the class of 2022 has learned how to perform procedures such as intubation, chest tubes and needle decompression. The CMU ultrasound club has began and students are improving POCUS skills with the help of a local emergency medicine PA.

    CMU celebrated PA week by participating in numerous activities. The Class of 2022 hosted the Ariel foster kids on campus where they made tie-die shirts and challenged the kids to physical activity through obstacle courses.

    Lastly, the finalists for the Community Longitudinal Integrated Clinicals (CLIC) have been selected. Maddie Nieslanik, Jessica Page, and Kate Smith were chosen to provide longitudinal care to three underserved communities on the western slope. The 2022 cohort is scheduled to begin their clinical rotations in May of 2021. We are looking forward to our last semester of didactic and eventually moving on to clinical year to begin the real fun.

    Wishing health and peace to everyone this Holiday season!

    Jessica Dowgiert, PA-S1, and Alex Pollack, PA-S1

    Hello from Rocky Vista University's PA Program!

    The most exciting news coming from Rocky Vista right now is the graduation of its inaugural class on November 13, 2020. The Class of 2020 students are preparing to take the first PANCE exams to come out of RVU’s PA program education. Good Luck!

    The class of 2021 are currently on their rotations throughout Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Wyoming. One of the offerings from RVU’s clinical year includes the option for extended six to eleven month rotations in a single location where various specialty rotations can be completed. This reduces the transition time between traditional rotations, improves relationships with preceptors, and makes transferring to other specialties easier.

    The Class of 2022 students and staff have been adjusting to virtual classes which has been difficult with the inherent nature of hands-on experience in traditional PA school curriculum. RVU faculty are working hard to come up with creative ways to keep hands-on curriculum going while honoring and maintaining safety guidelines for students and faculty alike. One solution includes socially-distanced skills training outdoors, like learning breath sounds and cardiac murmurs pictured below. Students have strived to keep up morale and a sense of community with virtual game/happy hour nights, themed days (like dressing up for Halloween or representing our favorite sports teams), study sessions, and regular virtual meetings with our program director. RVU’s CAPA reps are also working to add some virtual events to this year’s class including virtual 5K and RVU Challenge Bowl competitions in addition to preparing for a likely virtual CAPA CME conference in 2021.

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

    Hands-on learning outdoors at RVU.

    Winter is Coming

    Rachel Briscoe, PA-S1

    Despite the numerous bright, sunny days we’re still getting, I know that colder and snowier weather is just around the corner. Having moved to Colorado from a warmer state and not owning a 4WD vehicle, I’ve felt a little anxious about getting around once the snow comes. Fortunately, I’ve been reassured that the snow in Denver never sticks for long. And hey, at least the odds of having to get to campus in the event of a bad storm are slim… one silver lining of online classes. 

    Aside from the driving, I am really looking forward to the winter season. As part of the ski club in college, I helped organize annual trips to different resorts in Colorado, which involved 20-hour bus rides from California. It feels pretty unreal to be living here now, with those same mountains just a short trek away.

    Of course, this ski season is not looking like a typical season by any means. With many resorts requiring reservations, it is going to take a bit more planning to actually get onto the mountain than many of us are used to. I’m optimistic however, that any hurdles will be outweighed by the benefits of shorter lift lines and less crowded trails. I am just hoping we can all be safe on the mountains so that further restrictions won’t be necessary!

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

    CLASS OF 2020

    After a long, difficult, and uncertain time, the class of 2020 celebrated their graduation earlier in November. The class of 2020 has been incredibly successful and flexible and will be valuable additions to the Physician Assistant profession. Congratulations class of 2020!

    CLASS OF 2021

    With their didactic year behind them, the class of 2021 has begun their clinical experiences. The process has been incredibly encouraging with a wide variety of clinical rotations available. The 2021 cohort are also beginning to plan their capstone research projects. While these projects are just in the formative stages currently, the ideas being investigated by this class will be tremendous additions to medical knowledge.

    CLASS OF 2022

    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 participate in group learning activities.


    CAPA CME Speaker Opportunity

    Are you interested in speaking at a future CAPA CME event? Do you have experience speaking or have expertise in a particular area? As we confirm CME formats for 2021, we invite you to submit session topics through this form.

    Coffee with CAPA

    CAPA held a virtual event to discuss what the organization has been up to the past year and updates on Colorado PA issues. It was an opportunity to meet CAPA leaders, learn about currently projects, and discuss plans for the upcoming year. Look for more opportunities to engage with CAPA in 2021!

    Tell your colleagues about the great work that CAPA is doing to advocate for the profession!

    Point of Care Ultrasound Usage in Colorado Survey 

    Miles Henson PA-S3
    University of Colorado School of Medicine
    Child Health Associate/Physician Assistant Program

    This survey is designed to obtain information about the use of Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) by PAs in Colorado, what settings it is used in most frequently and how providers obtained skills in POCUS. The information obtained from the survey will be used as part of a capstone research project. All information is anonymous, and your participation is greatly appreciated!

    Click here to access the survey.

    Colorado's COVID Vaccine Plan

    Make sure you are staying up to date.  Click here to see the latest information.

    Contact Us



    Copyright © 2022 Colorado Academy of Physician Assistants 

    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software