AAPA Applauds VA Governor Northam for Amending EO 57, Maximizing PAs in COVID-19 Response

Governor Temporarily Waives Collaborative Agreement Requirement for PAs

Contact: Jenni Roberson, 703.380.2764

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (April 24, 2020) – The American Academy of PAs (AAPA) commends Virginia Governor Ralph Northam for amending Executive Order 57 in order to allow licensed PAs (physician assistants) with two or more years of clinical experience to practice without a collaborative agreement.

In most states, PAs are required to have a supervisory or collaborative agreement with a physician in order to practice. This unnecessarily complicates where and how PAs can practice during a disaster or emergency – and most especially during a crisis like a pandemic.

“Surges in the coronavirus could hit any state in a moment’s notice, and it is critical for governors across the country to ensure outdated administrative burdens do not stand in the way of caring for patients,” said AAPA President David E. Mittman, PA, DFAAPA. “We thank Governor Northam for realizing that PAs should have been included in Executive Order 57 and acting swiftly to correct this oversight. Now, all of Virginia’s PAs will be able to step in where they are needed most.”

PAs are highly trained and qualified medical professionals, who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. There are more than 140,000 PAs in the U.S. who work in all medical settings and specialties. PAs are trained at the master’s degree level. PA programs are approximately 27 months (three academic years) and include classroom instruction and more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations.

There are more than 3,900 PAs in Virginia. The Virginia Academy of Physician Assistants (VAPA) also thanks the governor for amending the executive order.

“The VAPA Board is appreciative of the communication and amendment of Governor Northam’s Executive Order 57,” said Jeremy M. Welsh, DHSc, JD, PA-C, VAPA president-elect and chair, government affairs. “This confirms the important and significant patient care that PAs contribute to the Commonwealth of Virginia. We also appreciate the work of Secretary Carey and MSV to be inclusive of PAs with future decision making as the healthcare landscape continues to change.”

Virginia is one of just eight states – along with Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Tennessee – that have waived physician supervision or collaboration requirements for PAs in executive orders related to COVID-19. Only thirteen states, in previous legislation, have waived all or partial supervision or collaboration requirements for PAs during emergencies or disasters.

“More states need to immediately follow Virginia’s lead,” Mittman added. “PAs who work in hospitals, urgent care, and primary care settings are already a significant part of the on-the-ground efforts to diagnose and treat the coronavirus, and it is vital that every state in this country ensure PAs who work in other medical settings have the ability to transition into roles on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.”

Learn more about suspended/waived practice requirements for PAs enacted as part of the national response to COVID-19 on aapa.org.


About the American Academy of PAs
AAPA is the national membership organization for all PAs. PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. Learn more about the profession at aapa.org and engage through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.