Utah PAs Celebrate Enactment of Major PA Modernization Legislation

Removes Requirement for Physician Supervision and Delegation of Service Agreements

March 17, 2021

PAs in Utah are celebrating the enactment of landmark PA modernization legislation in the state that will now allow PAs to practice without physician supervision. Senate Bill 27, was signed by Governor Spencer Cox on March 17 and enacts a number of improvements to PA practice in Utah. In addition to removing the requirement for physician supervision and delegation of service agreements, the bill repeals the prohibition on PAs independently billing a patient – now allowing for direct pay – and makes PAs responsible for the care they provide. This law achieves two of the core tenets of AAPA’s  Optimal Team Practice (OTP) policy and Utah joins North Dakota in removing onerous supervision restrictions on PA practice.

The bill is the result of the tremendous dedication and work of the Utah Academy of PAs (UAPA) and the bill’s sponsor, Senator Curtis Bramble, to increase patient access to care and strengthen healthcare teams in the state.

“The passage of Utah’s OTP bill is an unprecedented opportunity to advance patient care. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted Utah’s need for more high-quality healthcare providers, and PAs continue to answer that call,” said UAPA president Tim McCreary, DMSc, MMS, PA-C, CAQ-PSY. “With the help of an incredible bill sponsor and dedicated chapter members, UAPA was able to remove outdated state law requirements that restricted PAs from providing care.”

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Under the new law, PAs may provide medical services that are within the PA’s skills and competence and shall collaborate with the appropriate member of the healthcare team as indicated by the patient’s condition, the PA’s education, experience and competencies, and the applicable standard of care. To address concerns from stakeholder groups, the bill includes collaboration requirements for PAs with less than 10,000 hours of practice experience.

“The enactment of Utah’s Optimal Team Practice bill is an exciting and critical victory for the patients we serve and for the PA profession,” said AAPA president Beth Smolko, DMSc, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA. “There is no doubt that PAs have proven themselves to be high-quality providers capable of caring for patients without unnecessary bureaucratic barriers- especially over the last year as we battled a devastating pandemic. AAPA commends the Utah legislature and UAPA for their efforts to put patients’ needs first, especially during this critical time.”

As partners in state advocacy, AAPA worked closely with UAPA to develop bill language and provided strategic counsel and support to advance the legislation. UAPA worked tirelessly to educate legislators, stakeholders and the public about the PA profession and the benefits of these improvements to the delivery of healthcare across Utah. The bill becomes effective May 5, 2021.

For additional information on SB 27, the full version of the bill is available here on the Utah Legislature’s website.

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