Florida Governor Signs Bill to Remove PA Educational and Licensure Barriers into Law

PAs are on track to continue to be part of the solution to access to healthcare in the Sunshine State

June 26, 2023

On June 21, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 1133 into law, legislation that protects the rights of individuals who have successfully completed their rigorous PA education to apply for licensure and ensures that Florida patients can see their chosen providers.

In 2021, the Florida Academy of PAs (FAPA) witnessed the enactment of their priority legislation, House Bill 431, which made several significant improvements to PA practice in the state, including authorization for PAs to receive direct payment for their services, a core tenet of Optimal Team Practice (OTP).

Unfortunately, clarifying licensure language to reflect wording utilized by ARC-PA, the sole accrediting body for PA programs in the United States, was not incorporated into the law. Specifically, as enacted in 2021, changes made to section (6)(a) of Chapter 458.347 and 459.022 of the Florida Statutes erroneously incorporated the word “graduated” rather than “matriculated” as originally proposed by FAPA. This amendment had the unintended consequence of prohibiting certain recent graduates from becoming licensed due to the timeframes outlined in the statute. In addition, other language regrettably precluded some out-of-state licensees who had been practicing for decades from being eligible for Florida licensure.

“The new law ensures that anyone who has completed an accredited PA program and met the other state standards for licensure can become licensed, thus, expanding access to healthcare for Florida patients,” FAPA President Terry Gruchow, PA-C said.

HB 1133 became effective upon the governor’s signature.

“FAPA extends their gratitude to Gov. DeSantis and Representative Alex Rizo for supporting their bill,” Gruchow said.

With the enactment of this legislation, FAPA looks forward to the upcoming 2024 legislative session and continuing to remove statutory barriers to medical care provided by PAs.

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