Missouri Governor Signs Bills Recognizing Assistant Physicians

Jul 11, 2014

By Liz Roe

On July 10, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law Senate Bills 716 and 754. These bills contain language calling on the Missouri Board of Healing Arts to license “assistant physicians,” who are medical school graduates who have not yet completed a residency.

AAPA voiced its opposition to the assistant physician concept in local media.

American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) President Reid Blackwelder, MD, expressed concern about assistant physicians in a July 1 blog post. And AAFP delegates expressed the same concerns at the recent AMA meeting.

Although the law will take effect on August 28, there will be a lengthy regulatory process prior to any assistant physician license being issued. Gov. Nixon expressed his concerns about the assistant physician concept in signing statements.

AAPA recently sent a letter to Gov. Nixon requesting that he use his administrative power to block implementation of this language. The Missouri Board of Healing Arts and several other state agencies must promulgate rules before licensing any assistant physician.

The Missouri Academy of Physician Assistants’ leadership team and AAPA advocacy staff will continue to encourage the Board of Healing Arts to consider whether implementing this provision is consistent with protection of the public health.