Legislative Initiative to Modernize PA Practice Introduced
October 01, 2017
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:
- Reach out to your local state senator by phone or email. You can find your senator here: Find Your Legislator.
- 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
- Follow up by letting Susan DeSantis (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
Mark DeSantis, PA-C
PSPA Governmental Affairs Chairman