AAPA: Policymakers in 44 States and DC Continue to Improve PA Scope-of-Practice Laws in First Half of 2014

Momentum Grows as More States Modernize PA Practice Laws Offering Patients Greater Access to Quality Healthcare

Aug 01, 2014, 06:00 ET from American Academy of Physician Assistants

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 1, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following a year of unprecedented improvements to physician assistant (PA) scope-of-practice laws, legislators across 44 states and the District of Columbia have continued to modernize PA laws and regulations during the first half of 2014, according to the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

"With millions of new patients entering the U.S. healthcare system in 2014, improved PA practice laws are a win-win for everyone," said AAPA President John McGinnity, MS, PA-C. "For patients, this means increased access to quality healthcare because PAs are able to practice medicine with fewer barriers. We're greatly encouraged by this progress to remove antiquated laws that impede PAs' ability to practice medicine to the fullest extent of their experience and education."

Key areas of law modernization in 2014 so far include improvements to PA practice and the ways physician-PA teams function, increased patient access to quality medicine and the enrollment of PAs as providers in state Medicaid programs.

AAPA anticipates further improvements to PA practice laws in the second half of 2014. Several more states are seeking to implement one or more of the Six Key Elements of a Modern PA Practice Act—components identified by AAPA as essential to enabling PAs to practice medicine. These include:

1. "Licensure" as the regulatory term;
2.  Full prescriptive authority for PAs;
3.  Scope of practice determined at the practice level;
4.  Physician on-site requirements determined at the practice level;
5.  Chart co-signature requirements determined at the practice level; and
6.  No restriction on the number of PAs with whom a physician may practice.

PAs practice in all medical and surgical settings and specialties, including primary care, emergency medicine, surgery, oncology, orthopaedics, psychiatry, radiology, pediatrics and more. New research shows that the average PA will practice in two or three different specialties throughout his or her career, making the PA profession one of the most dynamic in the healthcare industry today. As part of that care, a typical PA will treat 3,500 patients in a year.

About the American Academy of Physician Assistants
Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants is the national professional society for PAs. It represents a profession of more than 95,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories with the exception of Puerto Rico and within the uniformed services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of PAs and to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare. Visit www.aapa.org and www.pasconnect.org to learn more.

SOURCE American Academy of Physician Assistants