New Mexico PAs celebrate enactment of collaboration bill

April 18, 2017

New Mexico PAs will have greater autonomy due to the enactment of H.B. 215, which was signed into law by Gov. Susana Martinez on April 6.  The legislation was the product of months of negotiations among the New Mexico Academy of PAs, the New Mexico Medical Board, the New Mexico Medical Society, and the Greater Albuquerque Medical Association. The bill, which goes into effect on June 6, makes several changes to PA practice in the state, including:

  • Allowing PAs in primary care with three or more years of clinical practice to enter into a collaborative, rather than supervisory, relationship with a physician;
  • Allowing PAs to practice within their own education and experience;
  • Allowing PAs to dispense medications; and
  • Allowing the New Mexico Medical Board to set the parameters for collaboration (including defining primary and specialty care) and establish the rules surrounding supervisory and collaborative agreements.

When the bill was heard in Senate Committee, H.B. 215’s fate became uncertain due to lobbying by the National Commission on Certification of PAs (NCCPA), which opposed a proposal in the original bill to eliminate the requirement that PAs maintain national certification to renew license.  The final version of the bill retained the recertification requirement and added language allowing recertification from an equivalent or successor agency to NCCPA.  At the same time, the unexpected opposition created a ripple effect in which the collaboration provision was limited to PAs in primary care, language stating that PAs are responsible for the care they provide was removed, and a requirement under current law that the Medical Board approve supervising or collaborating physicians was placed back in the bill after being removed in earlier consensus drafts.

While the last-minute changes in H.B. 215 may limit its reach, the bill is still expected to increase patient access to care in New Mexico, particularly in rural and medically underserved areas of the state.  For more information on H.B. 215 or PA practice in New Mexico, contact Erika Miller, director, constituent organization outreach and advocacy.