Dozens of New Laws Benefit PAs and Patients
As millions of patients are now able to access healthcare through the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers have been busy creating and updating laws that specifically affect how physician assistants (PAs) will help manage health care. Last year alone 109 PA positive laws were implicated throughout the states, which has the potential to impact more than 90 percent of PAs in the U.S. and the 300 million patients they treat each year. Many of these laws will increase access to quality care and lessen patient wait times.
Of the 50 states, 42 have repealed and amended laws that formed excessive barriers to healthcare, adopting positive laws that improve PAs means to practice medicine in the full scope of their experience and training. In addition to the laws past last year, several bills wait on the docket for this year in Michigan, New Jersey, and West Virginia.
Some laws give PAs wide ability to prescribe medications, order treatments, get reimbursed for various medical measures, and generally practice with more flexible supervision requirements. Many definitions have changed to include PAs in various state legislations, and PAs have been added to Board of Licensure in Medicine lists.
Here’s a look at a few of the changes:
- Senate Bill 352: PAs can supervise medical assistants, no matter the setting
- Senate Bill 494: Definition of primary care provider to include PAs; Aligns definition of primary care provider to the definition of the Affordable Care Act
- Amendment 154: Allows those PAs with proper training to perform abortions
- Senate Bill 398: Physician can delegate authority to PA to order medications for the physician’s patient, Clarification: orders are not considered to be prescriptions.
- NAC 630.800: PAs can delegate tasks to and supervise medical assistants
- NAC 284.441: Provisions to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act; PAs added to the list of providers for whom documents on the condition of an employee will be accepted
- NMAC 8.130.2: PAs receive reimbursement for assisting surgery; offering nutritional counseling; ordering lab and diagnostic testing
- Senate Bill 2606: PA to physician ratio jumps from 2 to 4 in private practice and 4 to 6 in prisons
- House Bill 1796: PA can complete and sign death certificate of physician’s patient, or if their patient, with physicians approval
- Senate Bill 1006: PA able to perform a physical evidence recovery kit on potential victims of rape
- Senate Bill 974: PAs allowed to certify 15 days prior to medical procedure if applicant will have limited or impaired ability to walk
- Amendment/Repeal: Allows PA team to determine evaluation process rather than requiring physician to see a patient at least once per 4 visits; Defines practice agreement to include PA in the development of a written agreement; Adds “prescriptive authority of the PA” as part of definition of PA/physician relationship definition.
- Senate Bill 5524: Pharmacies can fill prescriptions written by PAs in other states
- House Bill 1737: Physicians may increase PAs in practice from 3 to 5, PAs practicing on remote sites are no longer required to have 10% on-site supervision