2016 was another banner year for PAs at the state level

The end of the year is always a time to reflect on our accomplishments, and also prepare for the year ahead. For the PA profession, 2016 was another year of significant legislative and regulatory victories.

Social Security Administration recognizes PAs as an acceptable medical source

On January 18, the Social Security Administration (SSA) published a revision to its rules regarding the evaluation of medical evidence, which included a change that will allow PAs to serve as an Acceptable Medical Source (AMS), an issue that AAPA has advocated for aggressively for several years. The SSA’s final rule updates which healthcare professionals can serve as an AMS and how the agency considers and articulates medical opinions.

Major PA Victory in Michigan

PAs in Michigan are applauding the enactment of House Bill 5533, which increases patient access to healthcare by modernizing and updating how PAs practice. Under the new law, physicians within PA-physician healthcare teams will be recognized as participating physicians instead of supervising physicians to better reflect the PA’s and physician’s role within the team.

Legislation Marks New Era for PAs in New Jersey

On Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed S1184. The legislation will result in PAs in the Garden State gaining three additional Key Elements of a Modern PA Practice Act, bringing New Jersey’s total to five!

California Improves Chart Co-Signature Requirements for PAs

On Oct. 6, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that improves documentation requirements for PAs in California. Senate Bill (SB) 337, sponsored by the California Academy of PAs (CAPA), adds flexibility to the state’s current chart co-signature requirements that will allow for a reduction in the number of charts that are required to be co-signed by a physician.

PAs Included in New Telemedicine Guidelines in Washington State

On Oct. 3, the Washington Medical Quality Assurance Commission (MQAC) adopted guidelines for the appropriate use of telemedicine that include PAs. The new guidelines define “practitioner” to include PAs and physicians regulated by the state’s allopathic board and emphasize how the use of telemedicine increases access to healthcare.

Missouri Governor Signs Bills Recognizing Assistant Physicians

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law Senate Bills 716 and 754. These bills contain language calling on the Missouri Board of Healing Arts to license “assistant physicians,” who are medical school graduates who have not yet completed a residency. AAPA voiced its opposition to the assistant physician concept on its PAs Connect blog and in local and national media, and the American Medical Association (AMA) also responded to this concept.