December 6, 2023
On Aug. 25, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law Senate Bill 1585 modernizing the state’s PA practice act, which will allow PAs (physician assistants) to expand their ability to provide top-notch medical care in Illinois.
The bill passed in both the House and the Senate without opposition and will allow PAs to better serve patients in rural and underserved areas and those covered by Medicaid. It also extends the PA practice act for Illinois’ 3,000 PAs until 2028.
The bill was chiefly sponsored by Sen. Iris Martinez and Rep. Cynthia Soto, together with 30 bipartisan cosponsors.
“Patients will benefit from the passage of this important legislation that modernizes PA practice in our state,” said Mindy Sanders, PA-C, Illinois Academy of PAs (IAPA) president. “We are grateful that Illinois recognizes PAs as valuable medical providers and as a solution to meeting people’s healthcare needs.”
Like many states, Illinois faces a healthcare provider shortage – especially in medically underserved rural and urban areas. The improvements this bill makes to state PA laws will help to address the provider shortage without additional taxpayer expense.
“I applaud the work of the Illinois Academy of PAs and the incredible effort they put into supporting this essential piece of legislation,” said Gail Curtis, MPAS, PA-C, president and chair of the AAPA Board of Directors.
The bill more accurately describes the association between PAs and physicians as a “collaborative” relationship rather than “supervisory.” Additionally, PAs will be listed as healthcare providers under Medicaid under this legislation. This eliminates a practice that creates inaccurate healthcare information and will provide patients with more accurate healthcare records. The new law also adjusts language relating to how many PAs a physician may collaborate with to increase flexibility. Under current law, a physician may not work with more than five PAs in non-hospital settings. Under the new law, it is clarified that five PAs means five full-time equivalent PAs. This increases the flexibility of providers to staff practices to fit local needs.
The American Academy of PAs (AAPA) worked together with IAPA and a broad group of Illinois stakeholders to develop this language.
“IAPA and AAPA worked as true partners throughout this process,” said Sanders. “AAPA’s advocacy team was instrumental in helping us advocate for this crucial legislation.”
For more information on Senate Bill 1585 or PA practice in Illinois, contact Adam Peer, director, constituent organization outreach and advocacy.