Tennessee PAs Successful in Quest to Create a PA Board

TAPA Leadership Says PA Engagement Was Key to Legislative Success

June 29, 2021

The Tennessee Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA) secured a significant win for PAs in the state last month. On May 26, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed HB 1080 which establishes the Board of PAs – a tenet of Optimal Team Practice. HB 1080 and its companion bill, SB 0671, became effective upon the governor’s signature.

Specifically, HB 1080 requires the Tennessee Secretary of State to transfer the rules of the Board of Medical Examiners’ Committee on PAs (COPA) to the Board of PAs, thus establishing the Board of PAs.

COPA was originally created in 1985 by the legislature to assist the Board of Medical Examiners in issuing licenses to qualified PAs. With the enactment of this legislation, the legislature transitioned COPA into an independent board.

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The Board of PAs will consist of nine members and is responsible for safeguarding the health, safety, and welfare of Tennesseans by requiring all that practice as PAs are qualified. The Board interprets the laws, rules, and regulations to determine the appropriate standards of practice to ensure the highest degree of professional conduct.

The Board is authorized to issue licenses to qualified candidates who have completed appropriate education and successfully completed required examinations. It also determines the appropriate standard of care, investigates alleged violations of law and rules, and disciplines licensees who are found guilty of such violations.

“Tennessee PAs were more legislatively engaged in this issue than any other issue in recent years,” said TAPA Executive Director Katherine Moffat. “Their continued communications with key legislators helped TAPA gain the support it needed to get the legislation passed. TAPA would not be celebrating this legislative victory if not for the countless emails and phone calls that PAs and students made to legislators and each other. These engagements with legislators really made a difference.”

TAPA worked hard to make this possible through numerous drafts, significant stakeholder engagement and lobbying for SB 0671/HB 1080. AAPA assisted TAPA with an advocacy grant, legislative drafting, research, and grassroots support.

For additional information on SB 0671/HB 1080, the full version of the legislation is available here on the Tennessee Legislature’s website.

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