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Clarissa Ronzio, MPAS ’18 Tackles the Issues

August 11, 2016

  • At MCPHS, students take pride in immersing themselves in the world of healthcare and gaining the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in their future careers.

    For many, that means actively promoting their future professions – while they are still a student.

    One way students do this is by participating in lobby days at the Massachusetts State House. This Spring semester, Clarissa Ronzio, MPAS ‘18 attended Physician Assistant Lobby Day along with her classmates from the Physician Assistant program from the Boston campus.

    Ronzio, who serves as student representative for the Massachusetts Association of PAs (MAPA), described the day as an “eye-opening experience”.

    “Learning our future day-to-day in a classroom is one thing, but to enter the State House with future colleagues to discuss and change issues that current Physician Assistants in the state of Massachusetts are facing made my future working as a Physician Assistant feel real,” said Ronzio.

    Issues tackled at PA Day included primary care provider status under MassHealth.

    “Under the current law, MassHealth does not consider Physician Assistants to be a primary care provider,” explained Ronzio. “This poses a problem, as MassHealth provides insurance to those with the most need. As the physician assistant profession grows, more and more healthcare centers will be relying on PAs to provide quality healthcare, but our abilities are severely limited if MassHealth does not change their requirements.”

    Another issue discussed at PA Day focused on death certificates. According to Ronzio, death certificates can only be signed by a physician or a nurse practitioner. “Death of a loved one is devastating for families, especially when the bereavement process is lengthened when another provider needs to be brought into the patient case to sign a certificate,” said Ronzio.

    For students, the day represents a vital opportunity to network, engage with the political process, and the exciting opportunity to potentially impact their future field.

    The biggest lesson I learned during Lobby Day is that the PA profession really is ours to mold,” said Ronzio. “We all have the ultimate goal of helping our future patients, so if everyone puts in a little effort to alter the law for our patients now, all future patients will also be benefited.”

    Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) offers Physician Assistant programs on our Boston, Worcester, and Manchester campuses.