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.