Key Legislation Becomes Law in West Virginia

June 20, 2017

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed S.B. 1014 into law. The new legislation, which becomes effective on September 7, 2017, allows PAs to work with “collaborating” rather than “supervising” physicians, expands PA prescriptive authority for Schedule III medications to 30 days from the current restriction of 72 hours, allows PAs to be reimbursed at the same rate as physicians and APRNs by prohibiting discrimination by insurance plans, adds an additional PA to the medical board, and authorizes PAs to sign an extensive list of forms that previously had to be signed by a physician, including death certificates, and eliminates the requirement for licensees to submit proof of current and continuous NCCPA certification for license renewal.

The passage of this important legislation comes after a months-long legislative process complicated by interference from the National Commission on the Certification of PAs (NCCPA), which sought to block the repeal of the requirement for current NCCPA certification for license renewal. While the initial bill passed unanimously by the state legislature, the governor vetoed it echoing points made by NCCPA.

Calls, emails, and social media messages from PAs across the state flooded the governor’s office, which helped convince him to reconsider his veto and add the legislation to the special session agenda where the bill was just reconsidered and eventually signed into law on June 19. With the passage of this law in West Virginia, now only 18 states require current certification for license renewal.

“The more than 1,200 PAs in West Virginia are breathing a sigh of relief,” said Josanne Pagel, MPAS, PA-C, president and chair of AAPA’s Board of Directors. “We are incredibly grateful that when presented with the facts from the West Virginia Association of PAs, the governor saw reason and reversed course.”

The successful enactment of this important legislation could not have been achieved without the partnership between the West Virginia Association of PAs (WVAPA) and AAPA. The collaboration of these organizations, coupled with the grassroots advocacy efforts of PAs both within and outside of the state, were critical components of this victory for patients and the profession. This win underscores the undeniable truth of the strength and value of the PA voice and the significance of continued engagement with legislators and other stakeholders who have the ability to impact the regulation of the profession and thereby patient care.

At the moment, AAPA is not aware of any additional states where NCCPA is actively lobbying. At its May meeting, the House of Delegates passed a resolution opposing unsolicited state lobbying by NCCPA.