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Physician Reminder: On-Site Supervision of PA’s No Longer Required

Physician assistants are increasingly playing an active role in patient care and states are finally modernizing practice laws, making it easier for them to do so. In March of 2013, Governor Steve Beshear approved a law, finalized in House Bill 104, which removed the stringent state requirement that physicians be on-site with PAs during their first 18 months of medical practice. The law approved a reduced physician supervision time of three months for newly-graduated PAs through May 2014. In addition, under the law, the supervision requirement is eliminated altogether as of June 1, 2014. The bill garnered national attention and even made headlines in the Wall Street Journal (see Melinda Beck, Battles Erupt Over Filling Doctors’ Shoes, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 4, 2013), as Kentucky was the only state with such a lengthy on-site requirement and one of only three states in the country with any such period of time for new PAs.

The step forward was just one of many seen across the nation, as those in the health care industry deal with expanding the scope of practice for non-traditional providers. With an influx of new regulations consuming more and more of doctors’ time and Healthcare Reform increasing patient volume, this bill will enable providers to better respond to patient needs. In Kentucky, the need for expanding roles is especially critical, as 55 of Kentucky's 120 counties are federally designated as medically underserved. According to the Kentucky Academy of Physician Assistants, nearly half of PAs educated in-state leave after graduation.

Expect to see PAs push for more reform, such as legislation that would eliminate the physician signature requirement for PA-generated charts. Physicians, take note that, as of June 1, you will no longer need to supervise PAs and can focus your time and efforts on your patients. PAs, hopefully the new law will give you the autonomy and authority that you need to stay in Kentucky after graduation.

This article is intended as a summary of federal and state law and does not constitute legal advice.

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