February 01, 2017
A delegation from PSPA and representatives from the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional Affairs commissioner Ian Harlow and the legal and administrative staff for the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine and State Board of Osteopathic Medicine met on Monday, January 30th. The focus of the meeting was the supervising physician written agreement approval process. The PSPA met with this group in December to discuss the delays in approval of temporary authorization to practice privilege. We also discussed the lack of communication from the board to PAs and physicians if an application did not pass the initial “first pass for completeness” and assigning of discrepancies.
As a result of that meeting, new written agreement forms were developed that added more specific instructions on requirements to assure “completeness of the application.”
Key elements outlined in the instructions included the following:
- Use of the correct form
- Payment in the correct amount
- A current certificate of malpractice in the name of the PA with $1M in coverage
- Signatures of all parties
- Include a list of PA functions, drugs the PA will not prescribe, location the PA will work in, countersignature protocol and description for supervision
In addition, the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine modified their application to only require the listing of one alternate supervisor. They joined the SBM in making the primary physician / practice responsible for keeping track of the additional alternate supervising physician. The need to use a written agreement change form to add or delete alternates is no longer required for both the SBOM and SBM.
On Monday, the discussion focused on the crippling effect the shortage of application reviewers has had on PAs, physician supervisors and health systems. The commissioner announced that the BPOA is preparing to have the supervising physician written agreement applications be done through an online process in the next 30-60 days. They have guaranteed that a PA and the supervising physician will be notified by email within 7-10 business days with a temporary authorization to practice or a notification that the application is not complete. They will accept missing documents by email.
An online process will eliminate the possibility of an incomplete application submission; the main reason for delay in issuing a temporary authorization to practice. The goal is to be able to issue a permanent approval as soon as possible. Access to the system will be provided to both the PA and physician to monitor how the application is moving through the process and any outstanding action that may be needed.
The feature of this new on-line system will include:
- Online chat for customer service
- Ability for email and text correspondence
- Auto-population of license verification database
- Smart phone app availability
- Bar code scanning ability to access the application and renew licenses
- Account access utilizing security questions
Listing of 2 email addresses will be required to assure communication if first email address is invalid.
The BPOA is planning to prepare an instructional video on how to use the online application system. They plan to offer a twitter town hall format as well. HAP and PSPA have offered to distribute information through newsletters, websites, email blasts as well as webinars once the program is live.
The PSPA has been invited to participate in testing of the new system. The BPOA plans to have ongoing meetings with the PSPA and HAP to get feedback on the process and make any modifications.
We are optimistic that these changes will occur in a timely fashion as promised. In the meantime, it is critical that all applications be submitted using the key elements listed above. Otherwise, the application approval will be delayed. Please do your part to make sure that you may begin to practice in a timely fashion.