South Dakota Academy of PAs Legislation Meets Opposition in Senate Vote

Stakeholder, Growing Legislative Support to Aid Future Push for Passage

February 28, 2022

After clearing a key South Dakota Senate Committee on February 9, South Dakota Academy of PAs’ (SDAPA) priority legislation, S.B. 134, reached the end of its 2022 legislative journey following a vote held by the full Senate on February 22. The bill failed by a narrow vote of 19 to 16.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Erin Tobin, a nurse practitioner, was amended on the Senate floor and would have allowed experienced PAs to practice without a specific agreement with a physician. The bill also included a provision authorizing direct pay for PAs, removed the PA-physician ratio limit, and made PAs responsible for the care they provide.

“This is not the end of the road for SDAPA’s efforts, and they should be proud of the fight they put up and the notable progress achieved this year,” said AAPA President and Chair of the Board Jennifer M. Orozco, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA. “SDAPA did a tremendous job lining up PAs, physicians, and the AARP who all testified in support of the bill. This support will be critical moving forward as SDAPA builds support to reintroduction legislation next year.”

Orozco testified in support of the legislation during the South Dakota Senate Health & Human Services Committee hearing on February 9.

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S.B. 134 is the product of three years of work by SDAPA and AAPA. During this time, AAPA and SDAPA partnered on drafting legislation, research, and grassroots outreach efforts to increase support for full OTP in the state. In addition, AAPA and SDAPA were able to launch public ads in support of their advocacy and generated significant grassroots outreach – in two months, almost 500 South Dakotans sent nearly 19,000 emails and made almost 30 phone calls to legislators.

“Each year, we continue the fight to increase patient access to care in South Dakota. While we lost the fight this year, we have also gained a significant amount of support, energy and lessons learned,” said SDAPA President Nancy Trimble, DMS, PA-C.

“I am proud that as PAs, we truly showed the meaning of being a team. PAs came together and worked with our colleagues in healthcare, including Senator Tobin, an NP and our sponsor, to make a change to improve healthcare for the people of South Dakota. I know we will continue to work for a strong future for our profession, but more importantly to improve healthcare access and quality of care for the people of South Dakota.”

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