Maine Legislature Fast-Tracks PA Legislation to Help Combat COVID-19

ME Association of PAs Top Legislative Priority Passes

March 19, 2020

On March 18, Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed LD 1660, an Act to Improve Access to Physician Assistant Care. The bill has been the Maine Association of PAs top legislative priority for the last two years. It was passed by the legislature on Tuesday, March 17, when only legislation that could help address the public health crisis of COVID-19 in Maine was under consideration before the legislature adjourned indefinitely.

The legislation makes numerous improvements to PA practice in Maine. Among the changes, LD 1660:

  • Removes the term “supervision” from Maine law.
  • Requires PAs with less than 4,000 hours of practice to practice in a collaborative agreement with a physician.
  • Allows a majority of PAs with more than 4,000 hours to practice without a written agreement. A physician must simply be available for consultation. (PAs who are the principal provider in a practice that does not include a physician partner must have a practice agreement with a physician).
  • Adds a second PA to the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine (allopathic) and the Maine Board of Osteopathic Licensure. The boards now consist of six physicians, three public members, and two PAs.
  • Makes PAs responsible for the care they provide.
  • Authorizes PAs to be eligible for direct payment.
  • Eliminates the requirement that a PA receive a certificate of registration (in addition to a license) prior to practicing.

“This is a groundbreaking moment in Maine PA history, and it occurs just as we enter into an unprecedented public health emergency,” said MEAPA President Gretchen Preneta, PA-C. “We hope that our success will pave the way for other states to achieve similar victories, particularly at this time when we all need to be able to practice medicine to the full extent of our education and training.”

Legislation in Maine usually goes into effect 90 days after finalization; however, LD 1660 was amended to reflect the current health crisis in the state and goes into effect immediately to allow for better utilization of PAs to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. AAPA and MEAPA worked very closely on this legislation. If you have additional questions on LD1660 or PA practice in Maine in general, contact Carson Walker, AAPA director, state advocacy and outreach.