Kentucky Governor Signs PA-Positive Mental Health Bill into Law

May 21, 2018

Effective July 1, 2018, PAs in the Bluegrass State will be included within the definition of the term “qualified mental health professional” thanks to the enactment of HB 497. Previously, only physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists were included in the definition. This amendment to state law will allow PAs in Kentucky to conduct evaluations of individuals who present a danger or threat of danger to themselves, family, or others for purposes of involuntary commitment.

The legislation was one of the Kentucky Academy of PAs’ priority bills this session and assures patients access to care and removes marketplace obstacles that prevent PAs from being hired directly from PA programs into psychiatry/behavioral health or other PAs from switching into the specialty. During a time of severe shortages of mental health providers, the enactment of this legislation is crucial.

For more information on these changes, or PA practice in Kentucky, contact Stephanie Radix, senior director, constituent organization outreach and advocacy.