Legislative Activity

Legislative Initiative to Modernize PA Practice Introduced

State Sen. John C. Rafferty, Jr., (REPUBLICAN; parts of Berks, Chester and Montgomery Counties) recently introduced PSPA’s PA modernization legislation, Senate Bill 895 (allopathic) and Senate Bill 896 (osteopathic), which would remove significant barriers to PA practice in the commonwealth and provide for better PA representation with the Board of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine.

The bills are currently in the Senate Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure Committee, and would make the following PA-positive changes:

  • Add a permanent PA seat to each board;
  • Allow for co-signature to be determined by the physician and PA at the practice level;
  • Remove the requirement that practice written agreements need to be submitted to and approved by the board.
  • Remove the requirement for physicians to be on-site at satellite locations.

The procedure we’d encourage you to take to make sure this legislation is successful is as follows:

  1. Reach out to your local state senator by phone or email. You can find your senator here: Find Your Legislator.
  2. When you call or write:
    a.  Identify yourself as a constituent and a community member
    b.  If calling, ask for the Senator. If he or she is not available (often they are busy), you should definitely leave a message with the Secretary or Aide who answers the phone.
    c.  If writing, be polite, and incorporate the talking points below.
    d.  Introduce yourself
    e.  Express your support for these bills to modernize PA practice. Explain why you support the bills and offer any personal stories related to the issues – like whether you’ve had issues with written agreement approvals with the boards, etc.
    Below are some talking points.

    • PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, manage their own patient panels, write prescriptions and often serve as the principal healthcare professional for patients.  PAs are in every medical specialty and every medical setting.  PAs often serve as primary care providers.
    • Current law calls for the Medical and Osteopathic Boards to approve each individual PA’s written agreement and scope. This restricts the ability of healthcare teams to customize practice, leading to inefficiencies and limiting access to care.
    • Current regulations require physicians to be on-site at satellite locations a certain amount of time. However, this is cumbersome and inefficient. For example, in rural primary care settings, this is an inefficient use of the physician’s time and it limits the team’s ability to expand access to care.
    • Current law mandates that physicians co-sign 100% of PA charts, which is incredibly inefficient. Chart review is only one method of communication between providers, and it is by definition retrospective. Ongoing communication between providers caring for a group of patients enhances coordination of care and patient outcomes. Reviewing medical record entries may be part of this communication, but it should be at the discretion of the providers and not required in law.
    • Currently, there is no full-time representation on either the Osteopathic or Medical Board for PAs, even though there are approximately 7,600 active allopathic licenses and 1,700 active osteopathic licenses.

    f.  Ask the Senator to support the bills
    g.  Offer your expertise, if needed, in future policy decisions impacting PAs

  3. Follow up by letting Susan DeSantis (pspa@pspa.net) know of your contact and its outcome.

If we are successful with this legislation in the senate, we will be asking you to do the same on the House of Representative side, so be on the lookout for future correspondence on this important issue.

Finally, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that there are new CME requirements in place for licensure. You can read more about these new requirements here.

PSPA is offering a 2-hour presentation as part of the 42nd Annual PSPA Fall CME Conference in King of Prussia. The presentation, “Opioid Prescribing: Safe Practice, Changing Lives,” is Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2017, from 1:45pm to 3:45pm.

Thank you.

Mark DeSantis, PA-C
PSPA Governmental Affairs Chairman

Update on Pennsylvania Informed Consent Issue

TO:              Chief Executive Officers, Chief Medical Officers, Chief Nursing Officers, Compliance Officers, and Governmental Relations Officers of HAP Member Hospitals and Health Systems

FROM:         Jennifer Jordan, Vice President, Regulatory Advocacy Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania

SUBJECT:    Pennsylvania Department of Health Rescinds Past Guidance regarding Obtaining Informed Consent

Issue:  On July 31, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) rescinded its November 6, 2012, guidance related to obtaining consent for Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) Line insertion and blood transfusions.

Member Action:  HAP recommends that members take note of this development and evaluate their informed consent processes. We recommend that members take the following actions:

  • Review your current policies, procedures, medical staff bylaws and privileges related to obtaining informed consent
  • Consult your legal counsel to ensure that your practices align with your organization’s assessment of the current common law and statutory requirements
  • Alert HAP if DOH surveyors or accreditation organizations surveying to DOH standards flag or cite “informed consent” issues during the course of a licensure survey or complaint investigation

DOH Message Board Post:  On July 31, 2017, DOH posted the following message on its facility message board:

“The Pennsylvania Department of Health is rescinding in its entirety the guidance dated November 6, 2012 regarding PICC Lines, and on administering and obtaining consent for blood transfusions. To the extent the guidance conflicts with the June 20, 2017 ruling of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Shinal v. Toms, it is no longer valid.”

Upon reading the message board post, HAP reached out to DOH staff to learn whether or not the message board post indicates a change in DOH’s enforcement related to informed consent. In a verbal conversation on August 1, 2017, DOH staff took the position that the July 31 post does not mark a change in the department’s enforcement approach related to informed consent. DOH stated that surveyors will continue to look for signed consent forms and confirm that hospitals have (and follow) policies for obtaining informed consent consistent with MCARE Act.

DOH staff indicated that, at this time, DOH does not intend to provide formal guidance related to the Shinal v Toms decision.

Shinal v. TomsIn its June 20 ruling regarding Shinal v. Toms, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that a physician may not delegate to others his or her obligation to provide sufficient information in order to obtain a patient’s informed consent. The Court stated that informed consent requires direct communication between the physician and patient and contemplates a back-and-forth, face-to-face exchange, which might include questions that the patient feels the physician must answer personally before the patient feels informed and becomes willing to consent.

Please see HAP’s June 30 Bulletin for more information about the ruling.

HAP Next Steps:  HAP will continue to monitor for any emerging developments related to the Shinal v Toms and advocate on behalf of our members.

  • HAP will continue to monitor Professional Licensure Boards to alert members about any potential practice impact. We meet regularly with DOH’s Division of Acute and Ambulatory Care (DAAC) leadership and will keep you informed if DAAC plans to adjust their enforcement approach.
  • HAP is actively investigating legislative options to remedy the resulting operational burden. We are engaging members to shape our legislative advocacy strategy. HAP is convening a joint meeting of its Physician Leadership Advisory Group and Committee on Quality and Care Management members, today, August 3 at 12 p.m. to discuss the practical implication of the decision and solicit input necessary to shape our legislative strategy. We will alert members to future opportunities to provide feedback and input.
  • HAP is engaging other provider stakeholders including The Pennsylvania Medical Society, Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants, and Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners to identify ways that we can coordinate our efforts to clarify and modernize the statutory landscape.

 

Passage of House Bill 424 Allows PAs to Certify Cause of Death and Sign Death Certificates

On June 30th, the Pennsylvania State Legislature passed House Bill 424, allowing for Physician Assistants to certify cause of death and sign death certificates of patients who were under their care. Representative Kerry Benninghoff, (Centre and Mifflin Counties) was the prime sponsor of the legislation. The bill passed unanimously in both chambers. The bill moves on to the Governors desk for signature and will become effective in 60 days from signing. This timing will allow for the vital statistics forms to be updated to include Physician Assistants.

The PSPA would like to thank Representative Benninghoff for his tireless efforts over the past 2 sessions to get the bill introduced and passed. We would also like to thank those of you who contacted your legislator asking for support of the bill. Those efforts are fundamentally key in getting legislation passed.

Follow the link below to read the bill in its entirety:

http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2017&sessInd=0&billBody=H&billTyp=B&billNbr=0424&pn=0440

Learn more about completing a death certificate here.

 

 

 

PSPA ALERT: PA Supreme Court Rules on Informed Consent

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Renders Decision on Informed Consent

On June 20, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled in Shinal vs. Toms that only a physician can obtain informed consent based on the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act of 2002. The ruling also outlines that a physician cannot rely upon staff to disclose sufficient information required to obtain a patient’s informed consent.

The duty to obtain a patient’s informed consent is a non-delegable duty, the Court ruled, belonging solely to the physician conducting the surgery or treatment. The Court found no provisions in the MCARE Act allowing for information given by a physician’s staff to satisfy the physician’s burden to obtain informed consent.

Section 504 of the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act, 40 P.S. § 1303.504(a), specifically states:

“A physician owes a duty to a patient to obtain Informed Consent of the patient or the patient’s authorized representative prior to the conducting the following procedures:

  1. Surgery, including the related administration of anesthesia;
  2. Administering radiation or chemotherapy;
  3. Administering a blood transfusion and all blood products;
  4. Inserting a surgical device or appliance; and
  5. Administering an experimental medication, using an experimental device or using an approved medication or device in an experimental manner.”

Be advised that with this ruling, the ability for PAs, NPs, mid wives and other practitioners to obtain informed consent is in serious question. We recommend that you discuss this situation with your organization’s legal affairs and medical staff departments, as well as your supervising physician. The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) and the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PA Med. Soc.) have notified their constituents of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s decision. Hospitals will in all likelihood be revising their informed consent policies to reflect this ruling.

PSPA, AAPA, PA Med. Soc. and HAP are analyzing the impact of this ruling on the Pennsylvania health care environment and are exploring opportunities for legislative relief.

**Disclaimer:  The PSPA is not a legal entity and any information given is not meant to construe a legal opinion or recommendation. Your situation may be unique and different than others, therefore, we recommend you consult formal legal counsel for any legal advice.

Implementing Act 101 and 101 Countersignatures

The State Board of Medicine / State Board of Osteopathic Medicine are implementing changes to effectuate Act 100 /101 of 2013 (related to physician requirements for countersigning patient records completed by a physician assistant). Physicians who currently have a written agreement with a physician assistant, and who wish to change their current countersigning practice, must submit a written agreement change form and have the change approved by the Board. Physicians who are entering into a new written agreement will see the statutory amendment reflected in the new application form.

Prior to the enactment of Act 100/101 of 2013, a supervising physician was required to countersign 100% of the patient records completed by the physician assistant within a reasonable time, not to exceed ten days. Under the new rules, 100% countersignature within 10 days will be required only during each of the following time periods:

  • The first 12 months of the physician assistant’s practice post-graduation and after obtaining licensure.
  • The first 12 months of the physician assistant’s practice in a new specialty.
  • The first 6 months of the physician assistant’s practice in the same specialty under a new primary supervisor (unless, the new primary supervisor was registered as a substitute supervisor for at least six months under another written agreement).

If after the required time frames listed above, the supervising physician wishes to deviate from the 100% chart review, the supervising physician must complete and submit a written agreement change form, including specific details regarding how patient records will be selected for review and how often patient records will be reviewed.

This information should include specifics such as type or percentage of patient charts that will be reviewed, specific types or categories of patient cases that will be reviewed, and the review schedule, etc. In addition, the supervising physician must affirm that the review plan is sufficient to assure adequate review of the physician assistant’s practice.

Deviation from 100% review of patient records within 10 days will require Board approval.

The supervising physician will need to continue to perform 100% review of patient records within 10 days until the Board approves the amended written agreement.

Countersignature requirements in a facility are under the jurisdiction of the facility bylaws, the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Health Care Facility Act, and The Joint Commission. Maintenance of 100% countersignature may still be required in your setting. The medical staff office, facility compliance office or the lead PA would be your resource for those details. A facility’s bylaws can be more restrictive than the state regulations for PA practice.

The written agreement change form can be found on the Medical Board’s website at www.dos.state.pa.us/med or the Osteopathic Board’s website at www.dos.state.pa.us/ost within the list of Board applications.

Acts 100 / 101 formalize the temporary authorization practice provision process as well.

The Acts approved a temporary authorization for Physician Assistants to practice pending formal approval of the “Application for Registration as a Supervising Physician.”

Upon submission of the application, Board staff will review the application only for completeness and issue a letter to the supervising physician providing the temporary authorization for the physician assistant to begin practice. If the application is not “complete” (i.e., required signatures are not provided, information is missing, fee is not included, etc.), a temporary authorization for the physician assistant to begin practicing will not be issued.

The temporary authorization, when issued, will provide a period of 120 days during which the physician assistant may practice, under the terms set forth in the written agreement as submitted to the Board. While practicing under the temporary authorization, the supervising physician shall countersign 100% of the patient records completed by the physician assistant within a reasonable time, which shall not exceed ten days. Within 120 days, the Board will notify the supervising physician of the final approval or disapproval of the application. If approved, a final approval of the written agreement will be issued to the Supervising Physician. If there are discrepancies that have not been corrected within the 120 day period, the temporary authorization to practice will expire.

Please note: The primary supervisor’s responsibilities also include:

• Providing a copy of the final Board approved written agreement to all substitute

supervisors.

  • Maintaining a current list of all locations where the physician assistant will perform duties.
  • Maintaining a current list of all substitute supervisors under which the physician assistant will work.
  • Notifying the Board of changes to the primary practice location utilizing a written agreement change form.
  • Ensuring that the physician assistant will not practice without supervision by either the primary supervisor or an authorized substitute supervisor.

The complete language for Act 100 / 101 can be found on the PSPA website, www.pspa.net under the Governmental Affairs tab legislative section. A reference table describing the implementation of Act 100 and 101 can also be found in the same section of the PSPA website. It is highly recommended that all PA’s confirm receipt of the temporary and final approvals from the Board(s) and retain a copy for your own file.

Sincerely,

Mark DeSantis, PA-C Gerry Grega, PA-C

PSPA Governmental Affairs Committee Chair PSPA President

House Bills Become Law

The PSPA is proud to announce that the House & Senate voted in favor of House Bills 1348 and 1351 giving supervising physicians the option to eliminate countersignature! The bills were signed by the Governor on November 26th and will become effective 60 days from the time of signature.  As you may remember, the PSPA negotiated a deal with the Pennsylvania Medical Society to amend countersignature as follows:

The supervising physician must countersign 100% of patient records completed by the PA within 10 days:

1) For the first 12 months post-graduation and until initial licensure

2) For the first 12 months in a new specialty

3) For the first 6 months in the same specialty but new practice

The supervising physician written agreement needs to contain a statement that indicates the number, (if any), frequency and criteria for chart selection for physician review after the 100% requirement timeframe has passed.

The bills also delineate the time frame for the Boards to review applications and work agreements. The language reads as follows:

“Upon submission of the application, board staff shall review the application only for completeness and shall issue a letter to the supervising physician providing the temporary authorization for the physician assistant to begin practice. If the application is not complete, including, but not limited to, required information or signatures not being provided or the fee not being submitted, a temporary authorization for the physician assistant to begin practicing shall not be issued. The temporary authorization, when issued, shall provide a period of 120 days during which the physician assistant may practice under the terms set forth in the written agreement as submitted to the board. Within 120 days the board shall notify the supervising physician of the final approval or disapproval of the application. If approved, a final approval of the written agreement shall be issued to the supervising physician. If there are discrepancies that have not been corrected within the 120- day period, the temporary authorization to practice shall expire.”

It will be extremely important that particular attention is paid to completing the application correctly so that the temporary authorization may be granted.  The process since its inception last spring is taking anywhere from 3-10 days on average as long as the applications have been completed correctly.  We suggest that you review the application yourself before it is submitted by the office manager, facility administrator or supervising physician.  The more eyes that see it, the less chance of the application being rejected for incompleteness.

The Boards are currently working on the implementation process.  Until that process is in place, countersignature of PA charts must continue as usual.  Stay tuned for further information.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION CENTER

Visit the AAPA Legislative Action Center to find out who your state and federal legislators are and what important legislation is pending.

Legislative Alert Letter February 15, 2014

Implementation of Act 100 and Act 101 Countersignature modification and temporary authorization to practice table

Act 100 / House Bill 1348: Countersignature modification and temporary authorization to practice under the State Board of Medicine
Act 101 / House Bill 1351: Countersignature modification and temporary authorization to practice under the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine

Bill summary
The PSPA is proud to announce that the House & Senate voted in favor of House Bills 1348 and 1351 giving supervising physicians the option to eliminate countersignature! The bills now move on to the Governor’s office for signature. They become effective 60 days from the time of signature. As you may remember, the PSPA negotiated a deal with the Pennsylvania Medical Society to amend countersignature as follows:

The supervising physician must countersign 100% of patient records completed by the PA within 10 days:

  1. For the first 12 months post-graduation and until initial licensure
  2. For the first 12 months in a new specialty
  3. For the first 6 months in the same specialty but new practice

The supervising physician written agreement needs to contain a statement that indicates the number, (if any), frequency and criteria for chart selection for physician review after the 100% requirement timef rame has passed. The legal Counsel for both boards have been modified the written agreement change forms at this time. In order to modify your present requirement for 100% countersignature within 10 days, the new written agreement change form will need to be approved by the board.

The bills also delineate the time frame for the Boards to review applications and work agreements. The language reads as follows:

“Upon submission of the application, board staff shall review the application only for completeness and shall issue a letter to the supervising physician providing the temporary authorization for the physician assistant to begin practice. If the application is not complete, including, but not limited to, required information or signatures not being provided or the fee not being submitted, a temporary authorization for the physician assistant to begin practicing shall not be issued. The temporary authorization, when issued, shall provide a period of 120 days during which the physician assistant may practice under the terms set forth in the written agreement as submitted to the board. Within 120 days the board shall notify the supervising physician of the final approval or disapproval of the application. If approved, a final approval of the written agreement shall be issued to the supervising physician. If there are discrepancies that have not been corrected within the 120- day period, the temporary authorization to practice shall expire.”

It will be extremely important that particular attention is paid to completing the application correctly so that the temporary authorization may be granted. The process since its inception last spring is taking anywhere from 3-10 days on average as long as the applications have been completed correctly. We suggest that you review the application yourself before it is submitted by the office manager, facility administrator or supervising physician. The more eyes that see it, the less chance of the application being rejected for incompleteness.

House Bill 1251: Expansion of ratios under State Board of Medicine
House Bill 1252: Expansion of ratios under State Board of Osteopathic Medicine
House 1804: Expansion of scope and Malpractice limits under State Board of Medicine
House 2088: Expansion of scope and Malpractice limits under State Board of Osteopathic Medicine

WHY “PA” SHOULD ALSO STAND FOR “POLITICAL ACTIVIST”

We are all impacted on a personal level by political decisions – decisions that affect things like our civil rights and the taxes we pay. In addition, PAs are affected professionally by politicians who pass laws, and by political appointees who regulate the PA profession. Most importantly, laws and regulations affect your patients. Every PA has had a patient whose most pressing need was not a different drug or a new therapy, but a change in the law. It is therefore the special obligation of PAs to understand the political process and use that knowledge to advance the interests of their patients and their profession.

There are many different ways that politics impacts the PA profession. State laws, which are the result of a long and sometimes grueling political process, can govern everything from which patients are covered by Medicaid to how many PAs a single physician may supervise. Before Pennsylvania’s legislators passed a law to license physician assistants in 1978, PAs weren’t even allowed to practice here. PAs should know how to work with the legislators who vote on those laws.

The first step is to stay informed. Read the newspaper and keep up with the state’s economy and political climate. Know what health bills are being considered by the legislature and the implications of those bills on health care. The most basic duty of any citizen in a democracy is to vote, and understanding the issues is a prerequisite to casting an informed vote. But knowing the issues backwards and forwards also allows you to take the next political step, which is to influence others.

Introduce yourself to your state legislators, and communicate with them on health care topics when your expertise could be valuable. If you can provide advice to a state senator on public health issues, such as smoking bans or bicycle safety laws, you will find a much more receptive audience when that PA supervision bill is up for consideration down the road. You could also work on a campaign for a candidate who shares your positions on important issues, or even run for office yourself.

Running for office is the pinnacle of political activity. As a PA, you may already know many of the people in your community because they are your patients, hospital or clinic staff and colleagues. You also have a deep understanding of the health care issues that are important to your community, and few issues are more important to voters than health care. You don’t necessarily have to give up clinical practice to run for political office – many governmental positions are compatible with continuing in full time clinical practice – but serving as an elected official gives you the opportunity to influence the health of your community on a much wider scale.

Along with laws passed by elected officials, PA practice is also governed by regulations adopted by appointed officials. Medical Board regulations, along with regulations from other agencies, often impact the PA profession at least as much state laws do. Unlike legislators, who must deal with the entire spectrum of public issues, regulators are focused on one specific area – in this case, medicine – and as such are expert in their field. Nevertheless, it is important for PAs and PA organizations to communicate with regulatory agencies. Attend medical board meetings if they are open to the public and submit comments on proposed regulations.

While it is possible to do these things as an individual, working through a group of PAs like PSPA is much more likely to carry weight with political actors. Working through an organization allows PAs to establish institutional relationships with other health care players in the political process, such as state medical societies and nursing groups. While PAs and other health care professionals may not agree 100% of the time, you’ll find that working together when there is agreement diminishes the frequency and intensity of disagreements on more controversial issues.

As published in the Summer 2009 PSPA News

HOSTING A LEGISLATOR AT YOUR PRACTICE

One great way to educate elected officials is to invite them to your practice. Hosting a legislator is not only a useful way of informing office holders about the issues that are important to you and the patients you serve. It can also help you build a relationship with that legislator, which can be helpful down the road when you want to express an opinion about health care legislation that is being considered.

Here is a step-by-step guide that you can use if you want to host a state legislator at your practice:

  1. Check with your clinic administrator and supervising physician to be sure they approve. Discuss ideal dates and times.
  2. Do some background research on the legislator. You can usually find biographies on state legislature Web sites. If you are having trouble getting information on your legislator, contact David Ashner on the AAPA staff at dashner@aapa.org. If you find that your legislator has a particular interest that is relevant to your clinic (i.e. care for the elderly, women’s health, care for recent immigrant populations), be sure to emphasize that during the visit.
  3. Contact the legislator or a member of his or her staff either by letter or phone. If this is after an election, congratulate them on their success and invite them to see “health care in action” at your clinic. Your message should be that you know health care is an important issue to them, and you’d like to give them the opportunity to see where health care is provided in their district and to discuss some of the challenges facing health care providers and their patients. Make sure that they know that you are a physician assistant and that they are aware of any PA-related bills that will be debated in the coming legislative session.
  4. Confirm a date and time for their visit. Thirty minutes to an hour should be sufficient.
  5. Prepare materials to give to the legislator. AAPA has fact sheets and issue briefs on a wide variety of topics, and Academy staff can help you pick the right materials for your situation. These materials are also available at AAPA’s Web site. Giving the materials to the legislator in a file folder with “Physician Assistants” printed on the tab will make it easy for the legislator to put the information in the right place once he or she is back at the office. Be sure to include your contact information or business card.
  6. Spiff up the office and alert the staff. Consider making a “Welcome Representative/Senator _____” banner or poster for the office.
  7. Invite the media, if it’s okay with the office administrator and your supervising physician. Also, be sure that inviting the media is acceptable to the legislator. If everyone agrees, contact David Ashner (dashner@aapa.org) on the AAPA staff for information on making the visit a media event.
  8. Make a detailed schedule for the visit. Here’s a sample agenda:
    9:00 – Legislator arrives, PA host greets the legislator, introduces staff and physicians, and introduces the legislator to patients in the waiting room.
    9:10 – Tour of office and description of population served, special interests and roles of clinic staff. Be sure to mention any areas of particular interest to the legislator (i.e. “Dr. Jones is board certified in geriatric medicine,” or “Mrs. Miller is both our receptionist and our translator”).
    9:20 – Legislator, PA, and physician convene in conference room or office to discuss health issues in district. Coffee is served. Legislator is invited to share his or her health agenda for upcoming session and discuss other issues of particular interest. The PA’s role in the clinic is described by the physician-PA team. Physician discusses the importance of PA legislation (if applicable) to the legislator’s constituents (remember that the message must be about why the PA legislation is important to the legislator). Clinic group asks how they might help the legislator with health issues the legislator has identified. Someone takes notes for follow-up.
    9:30 – Media (if invited) arrives. Clinic staff and legislator pose for photos. Legislator is given opportunity to discuss health issues and the importance of the visit. If the media is not invited, have a staff person available to take pictures.
    9:45 – Legislator is thanked by everyone for taking time from his or her busy schedule to visit. Additional photos of legislator at clinic and with staff are taken.
  9. Host the visit.
  10. The same day – Contact your chapter’s Legislative Coordinator to review the visit.
  11. The next day – Check the media for any mention of the event.
  12. Two days later – Send a personal note thanking the legislator for the visit and include copies of photos.
  13. The following week – Begin follow up on any items mentioned by the legislator.

So, there you have it: it’s as easy as one, two, thirteen. Remember, personal experience is the most significant motivator for legislators. Hosting a legislator at your practice takes less than an hour, but the experience of meeting a PA will stay with them for years beyond.


GET TO KNOW YOUR LEGISLATOR

The PSPA is embarking on a public education plan involving the state senators and representatives for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The message behind the campaign is to help educate these legislators about the concept of the Physician Assistant.

A standardized packet of information will be prepared for each legislator. A PA in their legislative district will be contacted to deliver this packet of information to their local office. Scheduling an appointment will potentially ensure that the PA may be able to have some time to meet with the legislator or their aide. By being one of their constituents who would be familiar with the health care market for their area, a greater impact will be made. The topic for discussion is the education and utilization of Physician Assistants. By providing this basic information, the legislator will gain a working knowledge of PAs. As health care legislation crosses their desk, they may review it with a better understanding and a more open eye.

In those instances where the PA is unable to make a visit because of time restraints, a phone interview with the legislator followed by a letter on your office letterhead may be a step in the right direction. That legislator may contact you in the future for input on health related issues or legislation. In that event, a PSPA staff person would be available for assistance or to possibly accompany you on any needed meetings.

Now is the time to approach our legislators and make them our allies. Accurate information and a firm handshake may prove invaluable in the future.

Please volunteer for the Get to Know Your Legislator Campaign!