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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: February 5, 2021 11:52 AM
From: Senator Joe Pittman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Physician Assistants Modernization of Practice
In the near future, I will reintroduce legislation, SB 870 and SB 871 of last session, that would help physician assistants work and practice with increased efficiency in Pennsylvania. Physician assistants are a crucial piece of the healthcare team. Their education and training are in the medical model, which provides both physicians and patients with excellent resources for healthcare.

Pennsylvania is one of the premier states for physician assistant education with more than twenty programs currently in the state. While many physician assistants receive their education from programs in Pennsylvania, current legislation makes it less appealing for physician assistants to stay and practice within the state. With the modernization in these bills, Pennsylvania will encourage more physician assistants to stay and practice in the Commonwealth resulting in a diverse range of medical professionals across the healthcare delivery system.

My legislation will do the following:
  1. Place a Physician Assistant on the Medical Board and Osteopathic Board with a permanent seat;
  2. Remove the requirement of a physician countersignature on 100% of patient files;
  3. Allow a written agreement to be "filed" instead of "approved" by the Medical and Osteopathic Boards. This will allow physician assistants to immediately begin working instead of waiting 120 days or longer for the Medical Boards’ review and approval; and
  4. Outline appropriate supervision requirements based on the needs of the physicians, physician assistants, patients, and overall healthcare system.
It is important to note that with the exception of an additional board seat, these regulations have been in place for almost a year via the Governor’s COVID-19 Emergency Declaration. This has allowed physician assistants to practice to the fullest extent of their training and healthcare systems to operate more efficiently.

To accomplish the intent of the legislation we will need to amend both the Medical Practice Act and the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act. Therefore, we will be introducing two corresponding pieces of legislation.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation and help to modernize and advance the practice of physician assistants. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Sarah Stauffer at sstauffer@pasen.gov or 717-783-5193.

Document #1

Introduced as SB398

Description: The first piece of legislation will amend the Medical Practice Act to implement the modernization provisions.

Document #2

Introduced as SB397

Description: The second piece of legislation will amend the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act to implement the modernization provisions.