Colorado Academy of PAs OTP Legislation Falls Short in State House

CAPA Looks to 2023 Armed with Lessons Learned, Successful Strategies from this Year’s Fight

March 17, 2022

Following sweeping passage through the Colorado House Health and Insurance Committee on February 23, HB22-1095, Colorado Academy of PAs cf(CAPA) Optimal Team Practice (OTP) legislation, failed to pass the full House on March 15. While an amendment by the bill’s sponsors to define PA scope of practice – offered in response to critiques heard during the initial debate – was successful, it was ultimately not enough to secure final passage.

“At the start of the legislative season, CAPA knew that advancing our bill would not be an easy road,” CAPA President Alyn Whelchel, MSPA, PA-C said. “This outcome is disheartening, but Colorado PAs should be proud of the progress we made this year. We maintain our resolve to update PA practice laws in our state in order to expand patient access to care. The vote on March 15 was not the end – it was Day 1 of our 2023 fight.”

HB22-1095 is the product of two years of work by CAPA and AAPA. During that time, AAPA and CAPA have worked closely together to develop legislative strategy, draft legislation and amendments, and develop testimony. In addition, AAPA and CAPA collaborated on efforts to drive awareness of the bill and reach key lawmakers including targeted advertising and grassroots efforts. In two months, advocates in Colorado sent nearly 10,000 emails to legislators urging support the bill.

Looking ahead to next year, CAPA will continue to build support from physicians and other healthcare providers as well as stakeholder groups – a strategy that was critical to CAPA’s success in securing support from many lawmakers this year. CAPA gained the support of more than 50 Colorado health centers, hospitals, and medical centers as well as the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials and ZoomCare, a company that runs 60 urgent care clinics in four states.

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Another key strategy for CAPA this year was securing PAs to testify about the barriers PAs seeking employment in Colorado have faced during the committee hearing. CAPA says testimony from Darcy Spurgeon, PA-C, an urgent care PA from Virginia, who shared her experience looking for a job in Colorado was instrumental in the bill’s passage through committee.

“The work CAPA has done to rally support from other healthcare providers and partners, to mobilize PAs and the public to engage in advocacy and grassroots, and to make strategic policy changes to their bill should be commended,” AAPA President and Chair of the Board Jennifer M. Orozco, MMS, PA-C, DFAAPA said.

“Their bill would not have made it this far without the tireless commitment of CAPA’s leadership and countless dedicated PAs in the state, and I hope other states draw inspiration from their efforts and lessons learned. AAPA stands ready to continue supporting CAPA in their journey and to support all states pursuing policies that will modernize PA practice and strengthen team-based, patient-centered healthcare.”

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