Wyoming Landmark Legislation a Victory for PAs and Patients

Legislation Repeals Requirement for Specific Relationship with Physician to Practice

April 5, 2021

Left to right: Josh Hannes Wyoming Hospital Association Vice President; Eric Boley President of the Wyoming Hospital Association; Jennifer Frary, PA-C, WAPA Vice President; Governor Mark Gordon; Julie Whitesell MPAS, PA-C, WAPA President Elect; Senator Fred Baldwin, PA-C and Sponsor of WY SF 0033

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed legislation today that repeals requirements for PAs to have a specific relationship with a physician or other provider in order to practice. The new law also recognizes PAs‘ ability to practice medicine consistent with their education, training, and experience.

Senate File 0033, sponsored by Senator Fred Baldwin, PA-C, makes historic improvements to PA practice in the state and is the result of the dedication and hard work of the Wyoming Association of PAs (WAPA).

“I sponsored this bill to increase patient access to care,” said Sen. Baldwin, PA-C. “I know firsthand that PAs provide high-quality care and are vital to meeting patient demand for health care in our state. For too long, unnecessary state law requirements have created barriers limiting PAs’ ability to meet this demand and I appreciate my legislative colleagues’ support of these important changes.”

The new law also states that PAs may collaborate with or refer to the appropriate member of a health care team as indicated by the patient’s condition; the current standard of care; and the PA’s education, experience, and competence. Collaboration is determined at the practice level, which allows for greater flexibility among treating providers.

“We’re pleased to see these much-needed updates and the removal of state laws that have left patients in Wyoming in the office of a qualified, competent PA they’ve seen for decades, who suddenly cannot treat them because the PA does not have a relationship with a supervising physician due to unexpected circumstances,” said Julie Whitesell, PA-C, WAPA president elect. “This bill is essential to ensuring safe, high-quality patient access to care, especially in rural areas where a PA may be the only available provider.”

The bill also requires a PA majority on the state’s PA advisory committee which makes recommendations to the state medical board on matters relating to PAs.

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“With the signing of the Optimal Team Practice bill, Wyoming took a critical step forward to provide Wyomingites improved access to quality healthcare,” said AAPA president Beth Smolko, DMSc, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA. “Removing unnecessary supervisory requirements increases PAs’ ability to care for patients and strengthens the healthcare team’s effectiveness.”

AAPA applauds WAPA’s outstanding work advancing this monumental shift for PAs in Wyoming. As partners in state advocacy, AAPA provided ongoing legislative advocacy support, including drafting, strategic counsel and grassroots engagement. WAPA also attributes their success to effective teamwork with the Wyoming Medical Society and the Wyoming Board of Medicine.

The bill becomes effective January 1, 2022. For additional information on SF 0033, the full version of the bill is available here on the Wyoming Legislature’s website.

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