Recent legislative wins in Arizona (HB 2043) and Montana (HB 313) are modernizing PA practice laws and helping PAs practice to the full extent of their education, training, and experience.
Arizona Law Removes Supervision Requirement for Experienced PAs
Arizona approved legislation to modernize the PA-physician relationship. PAs with less than 8000 hours will still practice under a supervision agreement with a supervising physician and PAs with more than 8000 hours will now move to a collaborative model. Governor Katie Hobbs signed the bill (HB 2043) on April 17, 2023.
Additionally, the bill also updates whether it is a physician who is responsible for the PA care for those with less than 8000 hours of experience or the PA. These new provisions allow employers (ie, private practice, health systems, hospitals) to determine at the practice level what is best for the practice and its patients. It also allows the Arizona Board of Physician Assistants to determine appropriate regulations for changes in practice setting or specialty. As Arizona currently has a separate PA board, the enactment of this law on December 31, 2023, will establish an optimal practice environment for PAs in the state.
“Our team worked tirelessly to ensure lawmakers understand how updated PA practice laws help to address our state’s growing needs for access to quality healthcare, especially in rural and underserved communities,” said Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants (ASAPA) President Melinda Rawcliffe, MPAS, DMSc, PA-C.
“ASAPA has been working hard to secure these updates to law for many years,” AAPA President and Chair of the Board of Directors Jennifer M. Orozco, DMSc, PA-C, DFAAPA, said. “Their success is a win for PAs not only in Arizona, but across the country and for the patients they serve. With every state that makes this patient-positive change, leaders are demonstrating that it’s time to update the laws so that PAs can practice to the fullest extent of their education, training, and experience.”
Montana Signs Law Removing Supervision Requirement for PAs
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed HB 313 into law on April 18, 2023. The new law allows PAs with fewer than 8000 practice hours to practice in collaboration with a physician or an experienced PA (licensed with 8000 or more practice hours). PAs with 8000 practice hours are exempt from the collaboration agreement requirement but will continue to work in collaboration with all members of the health care team and consult or refer with other providers as appropriate.
“The removal of unnecessary administrative burdens is a commonsense change that will allow PAs the flexibility to serve their patients better and increase access,” said Montana Academy of Physician Assistants (MTAPA) President Megan Zawacki, PA-C.
“As advocates for patients, PAs know that modernized PA practice laws are essential to addressing many challenges healthcare teams across the country are facing due to reduced staff and growing patient needs,” said AAPA President Jennifer M. Orozco, DMSc, PA-C. “It’s exciting and encouraging to see a state like Montana, with its unique health care provider access needs, recognize that fully maximizing the expertise of its PA workforce is a necessary step toward making healthcare teams more efficient and ensuring patients can receive timely, high-quality care.”
In Other PA Legislative News
- On April 20, the Iowa State Senate approved HF 424 by a vote of 48-1. The bill, which removes mandated written agreements between PAs and a specific physician, was amended in the Senate to require 2 years of supervision of certain PAs who own their own practice. The bill will now await a concurrence vote in the House of Representatives and will move to the governor if the House approves of the Senate’s amendment.
- Utah became the first state to pass the PA Licensure Compact when Governor Spencer Cox signed SB 35 into law on March 14, 2023. The compact will become effective once 7 states adopt the compact language through similar legislation.
Arizona becomes fourth state to remove the legal tether between PA, physicians. News release American Academy of PAs; April 19, 2023. https://www.aapa.org/news-central/2023/04/arizona-becomes-fourth-state-to-remove-the-legal-tether-between-pa-physicians/
HB2043 signed into law! News release. Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants; April 19, 2023. https://www.asapa.org/blogpost/1143865/487946/HB2043-SIGNED-INTO-LAW
Montana governor signs law removing supervision requirement. News release; American Academy of PAs. April 20, 2023. https://www.aapa.org/news-central/2023/04/montana-law-removes-collaboration-requirement-for-pas-with-8000-practice-hours/
Iowa state house overwhelmingly passes bill modernizing PA practice by a vote of 90 – 8. News release. American Academy of PAs; March 9, 2023. https://www.aapa.org/news-central/2023/03/iowa-state-house-overwhelmingly-passes-bill-modernizing-pa-practice-by-a-vote-of-90-8/