2017: A great year for PA-positive legislation in Virginia

March 27, 2017

The Virginia Academy of PAs Board of Directors discussed legislative strategy with Stephanie Radix, JD, AAPA senior director, constituent organization outreach and advocacy (left).

Virginia’s 2017 legislative session made significant strides for PAs in the state. Specifically, Senate Bill 1062/House Bill 1910 which will become effective on July 1, 2017. The new law adds PAs to the definition of “mental health service provider” who have a duty to act when a patient threatens violence or serious harm to a third party. Thanks to this law, PAs can act on this responsibility and take several precautions to prevent a patient from carrying out a threat, including seeking an involuntary admission, warning potential victims, and notifying law enforcement. The Virginia Academy of PAs (VAPA) promoted the companion legislation during its annual advocacy event White Coats on Call on February 6. Despite the state’s short legislative session this year, the bills passed unanimously through both sides of the Virginia General Assembly before reaching Gov. McAuliffe’s desk for approval.

Other PA-positive bills that passed the Virginia legislature in 2017 include:

  • S.B. 1179/H.B. 2161, which became effective on February 20, require the state’s secretary of health and human resources to convene a workgroup to create educational guidelines for training healthcare providers in the safe prescribing and appropriate use of opioids. This workgroup must include a representative from a PA program.
  • S.B. 1009/H.B.1767, also effective as of February 20, allow healthcare providers, including PAs, to prescribe controlled medications via telemedicine. The legislation also authorizes Virginia pharmacies to dispense controlled medications prescribed by out-of-state PAs.
  • S.B. 944/H.B. 1746, which take effect on July 1, provide immunity to prescribers of epinephrine, including PAs, and employees of a public institution of higher education or a private institution of higher education who are authorized by a prescriber and trained in the administration of epinephrine, and who administer or assist in the administration of epinephrine to a student believed in good faith to be having an anaphylactic reaction from any civil damage liability for ordinary negligence in acts or omissions resulting from the rendering of such treatment.
  • S.B. 973/H.B.1921, which go into effect July 1, make it a class 1 misdemeanor if someone commits battery against any healthcare provider in a hospital or emergency room on the premises of any clinic or other facility rendering emergency care.
  • H.B. 2119, effective July 1, limits the practice of laser hair removal to PAs, MDs, DOs, NPs, or properly trained persons under the direction and supervision of these healthcare providers in accordance with state law.

The Virginia Academy’s Board of Directors and AAPA staff met during VAPA’s January 2017 board meeting to strategize for the 2017 session and plan for the 2018 legislative session. VAPA intends to work with legislators to advocate for legislation based on AAPA’s Model State Legislation and Guidelines for State Regulation of PAs next year.

For more information regarding these bills, or PA practice in Virginia generally, please contact Stephanie Radix, JD, AAPA senior director of constituent organization outreach and advocacy.