LEGISLATIVE & GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS REPORT
The PA committee, subcommittee of the Board of Medicine
and Surgery, met July 17. They began discussions on drafting new Rules and Regulations in accordance with the newly passed PA legislation. The law takes effect August 30, 2009. Changes made by the Uniform Credentialing
Act will also be incorporated and will make the regs rather lengthy. The committee was led by Chairman Paul Shellabarger, PA-C. Representatives from DHHS's Regulatory Affairs
and Investigations (Mike Grutsch, PA-C), as well as NAPA were present. The committee spent most of the discussion on PA/MD ratios and waivers, and standards of supervision standards for PAs with less than 2 years of experience. There was agreement that there should different time together requirements in that first 2 years based on how many months the PA has practiced. This group thought a minimum of 20 PA charts per month should be reviewed by the physician. There will be NO mandated time together requirement or patient chart review in regulation for PAs with at least 2 years of experience.
Discussions are at a very preliminary level currently. The PAC will review their recommendations mid-September and, if approved, forward the draft to the Board of Medicine and Surgery for its review. The process will be lengthy. If the Board of Medicine and Surgery approves them at that time a public hearing will be held tentatively at the end of the year or early 2010. After input at the public hearing the regulations go back to the PAC and Board of Medicine for review, then onto the Board of Health. Once the Board of Health approves the regulations they are forwarded to the Director of Public Health, the Attorney General and finally the Governor. Each one of these steps will be closely monitored by NAPA. We are hoping to avoid the tremendously long and arduous process our last regulation update underwent in 1985. That took 5 years and 12 Attorney General opinions!
Meanwhile, NAPA has asked for clarification regarding what steps PAs and supervising physicians have to take in the interim in order to stay in compliance with the new law once it is effective August 30. NAPA will also be scrutinizing the suggested Scope of Practice agreement for necessary changes. More information will be forthcoming once it is obtained.
Submitted by Bonnie Shearer, Committee Chair