The PA Licensure Compact – What You Should Know

Compact Will Benefit Patients and PAs

December 13, 2021

By Carson Walker, JD

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) supports America’s state and regulatory medical boards on licensing, discipling, and regulation. In 2019, FSMB, the Council of State Governments (CSG), AAPA, NCCPA, and key PA stakeholders began working on an interstate PA Licensure Compact that will streamline PA licensing and expand access to care for patients.

What is the PA Licensure Compact?
The PA Licensure Compact will allow for license portability and will significantly decrease the administrative burden of securing licensure in multiple states. Once the Compact is operational, eligible PAs will have to complete a single application to receive licenses from each Compact state in which they intend to practice. For example, a PA with practice locations in three Compact states will no longer need to apply for an individual license from each of those three states; a single application will garner multiple licenses. This will significantly reduce administrative burdens and licensing fees for the PA, but most importantly will reduce delays to providing patient care and increase patient access as this PA can now see patients in all three jurisdictions.

License portability for military spouses
The PA Licensure Compact will allow for increased license portability, which is an area of particular need for the military spouse community. The Department of Defense (DoD) is a strong supporter of interstate compacts, not just for healthcare providers, but for other licensed professional jobs like teachers and social workers. Military spouses move across state lines much more frequently than their civilian counterparts – an annual average of 14.5% for military spouses vs. 1.1% for the civilian community. According to the DoD, 19% of military spouses experience challenges maintaining their licenses1. With an active interstate PA compact, a currently practicing military spouse would be able to maintain licensure and alleviate licensing-related downtime between jobs when the military requires an interstate move, as long as relevant states are members of the Compact.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine has increased substantially; however licensing requirements have not permanently changed in response. A PA – no matter how they are delivering care – must be licensed in the state or jurisdiction in which the patient is located. The PA Licensure Compact would make it easier to see patients, including through telemedicine. For example, for those in rural communities, a telemedicine visit may be more feasible than a long drive to a medical office.

Where we are now
Since work began on the PA Licensure Compact, a broad coalition of stakeholders has been meeting regularly to work on model state legislation. To activate the PA Licensure Compact, seven states will need to pass the exact same legislation, so the model language is exceptionally important.

The most recent meeting, held on Nov. 18, 2021, included officials from 15 states and D.C., nearly 20 PAs, and representatives from FSMB, CSG, AAPA, and NCCPA, and was convened to review the model legislation section by section. PAs in Virtual Medicine and Telemedicine (PAVMT) was in attendance as well and shared the potential impact of the legislation as drafted on PAs that practice almost exclusively via telemedicine. After much discussion, the group agreed to make exciting and forward-looking amendments to the model legislation.

What’s next?
The benefits of an interstate PA licensure compact are clear – for patients and PAs. Given the updates needed after the Nov. 18 meeting, and the additional stakeholder education and outreach that will be required, AAPA is hopeful some states will be able to introduce the model legislation by mid-2022. There will be opportunities for engaging PAs, regulatory boards, states, and legislatures in early 2022. Stay tuned to AAPA channels for more information on this important initiative.

Are you interested in becoming a PA champion? Have a story on how the Compact would benefit your patients or practice? Questions? Contact Carson Walker on AAPA’s advocacy team.

1. Maucione, Scott. DoD working with occupational organizations to help military spouses with state licensing. Federal News Network. March 24, 2021. Accessed December 10, 2021.